Jackie McNamara has claimed that he would be “surprised” if Steven Gerrard left Rangers to become the next Newcastle manager.
A previous report [The Northern Echo] claimed that the Magpies see the 39-year-old as a viable candidate to replace Rafael Benitez, who will leave upon the expiration of his current St James’ Park contract on Sunday.
Speaking to Football Insider, however, McNamara said that Gerrard’s bigger focus will be trying to close the gap between the Gers and Glasgow rivals Celtic.
“I’d be surprised,” the pundit said. “I think [Gerrard] was linked with Derby the week before if Lampard goes, which looks to be the case.
“I’d be surprised if he was to go to Newcastle just now, I think he’s got the bit between his teeth at Rangers just now, with the signings and the players he’s bringing in. He’s wanting to try and stop Celtic’s dominance which obviously is not going to be easy.
“I don’t know [if he’d be tempted]. It seems a bit of a club in crisis with the fans, you’ve got the manager and the way he’s been treated. It’s been well documented the problems with Benitez’s funds to invest in the team.”
McNamara is bang on with these comments. Gerrard has only just started on his journey with Rangers, and it is very unlikely that he would jump ship to move back to England with Newcastle. Gerrard had a solid season with the Gers last term considering it was his first campaign, but there is no doubt that he will have his sights set on trying to improve and close the gap between his side and Celtic. If he moved to St James’ Park, it would be a huge risk because there would be immediate pressure to try to take the club forward, which – in their current predicament – is a big ask. What’s more, all of the last eight managers that Mike Ashley has brought into the club have been free agents, and if the owner was to try to bring Gerrard in, he would have to fork out a significant amount of compensation, which would surely not be a consideration for the hierarchy.