Steven Gerrard: Rangers boss explains why he is Scotland supporter
He is the proudest of Englishmen who represented his country 114 times and played at six major tournament finals with three lions on his shirt.
But Steven Gerrard will set international football’s oldest rivalry aside when he lends his backing to Scotland’s attempt to defeat Serbia in Belgrade on Thursday night in their Euro 2020 play-off final.
Throughout the whole of Gerrard’s England career, which saw him experience his first major tournament at Euro 2000 and his last at the 2014 World Cup Finals, Scotland became an increasing irrelevance on the international stage.
Now the Rangers manager insists he is as keen as anyone to see Steve Clarke’s squad take the nation to a first finals since the 1998 World Cup, something he believes would benefit Scottish football as a whole.
‘I wish the lads well’
“Of course it would be huge and I think everyone is working ever so hard, who is representing Scotland at national team level and also the clubs domestically, as hard as we can to make the name of Scotland be respectable and proud and get it back where it should be,” said Gerrard. “On Thursday night, it would be another huge step towards that so I wish the lads well.
"It is a fantastic experience to play at a Euros and I am sure all the Scottish players, as young boys, dreamed of representing their country and also doing that in a major competition. They are close, they have got one more step to go. They have got to go there on Thursday and leave everything on the pitch and do the Scottish supporters proud. If they do, then I am sure they can get the job done.”
Gerrard has two players in Clarke’s squad – goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, who is unlikely to play, and midfielder Ryan Jack who may well be given a key role in the Red Star Stadium.
"I am proud of all my players who go away and represent their countries and I will be keeping an eye on all of them,” added Gerrard. “I wish them all well, wish them all the best of luck and I hope they come back fit and healthy. Beforehand, we have got to deliver three points for Rangers against Hamilton on Sunday and then it will be time to wish people all the best on international duty. Of course I want Scotland to qualify because I have got players that are going away, they are my players, and I am proud to see them play.”
Irish eyes are smiling
Another of Gerrard’s players hoping to clinch a place at next year’s finals is Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis whose side face Slovakia in their play-off final at Windsor Park. The 35-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has been in excellent form for Rangers in recent weeks.
"He is a top professional, fantastic to work with and we need to try and keep Steven in this place between now and the end of the season,” said Gerrard. “Because, if we do, I am sure he will contribute to the team very well. It’s too early to discuss contracts at the moment. When the time is right, we will discuss Steven’s future and when there is an update, we will let you know.”
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