SPL

Van Bronckhorst 'so lucky' as Dutchman replaces Gerrard at Rangers

By Sports Desk November 18, 2021

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has returned to Ibrox as the new manager of Rangers.

The former Netherlands international has been charged with replacing Steven Gerrard, who left the Scottish Premiership champions to take over as Aston Villa boss last week.

Van Bronckhorst won five trophies with the Glasgow giants in his playing days, including two league titles.

The 46-year-old masterminded Feyenoord's 2016-17 Eredivisie title triumph, while he also lifted the KNVB Cup twice and the Johan Cruyff Shield before taking charge of Chinese Super League club Guangzhou City last year.

Van Bronckhorst is relishing the challenge of winning more honours at Rangers.

The ex-Barcelona and Arsenal man will be fully in charge once he is granted a work permit.

"I am absolutely delighted to be returning to Rangers as the club's new manager," Van Bronckhorst told the Rangers official website.

"I feel so lucky to be going to work with a squad which is in a great position on all fronts and largely has that experience of being winners. I'm grateful for the chance to work again at this huge football club."

Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson revealed Van Bronckhorst had been earmarked as a potential replacement for Gerrard long before the Liverpool legend's departure.

He said: "I am delighted to welcome Gio back to Rangers. He was respected throughout Europe as a player and has already shown why he has that same respect as a coach.

"Gio has already shown himself to be a winner, he knows the club, he knows the quality of the squad and is absolutely aligned with our approach and mindset.

"Gio has been part of a long list of managers we have been tracking for a period of time to ensure we are always ready. When Steven intimated his decision last Wednesday, we immediately got to work on what was then a focused shortlist. We held initial talks within 48 hours and concluded our decision-making within six days of the role becoming available.

"We found agreement with Gio extremely quickly and we have enjoyed working with him on assembling the backroom team that will complement an already excellent support staff that we have built here at Rangers."

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    And after penning a fresh five-and-a-half-year deal, Martinez outlined why he has committed his future to Steven Gerrard's side.

    "I won a major tournament with Argentina not long ago and every time I come through the tunnel at Villa Park on a matchday, I can see the crowd, the lights, the fans excited for us to play," he told VillaTV on Friday.

    "Just before coming out [on to the pitch], I see the Champions League trophy and the FA Cup trophy and that's where I want to get.

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    Martinez endured a frustrating time at Arsenal, where he made just 15 appearances as he was loaned out to numerous clubs, but believes he has now settled at Villa.

    "When I signed for Aston Villa, obviously I had massive ambitions about being in Europe and being the best version of myself, and the club have opened a really good door for me," he added.

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    Hernandez, whose existing contract expires in 2024, is widely expected to agree an extension, snubbing the prospect of a big move. Of course, the player, who came through Atletico Madrid's academy, has already had one such transfer.

    Having impressed on loan at Alaves, Hernandez headed to Real Madrid in 2017 for an unsuccessful stay at the Santiago Bernabeu. In a single season in the Madrid first team, the defender was restricted to 13 league appearances (10 starts) and failed to contribute either a goal or an assist, creating a meagre eight chances.

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    While these attacking contributions are no doubt what has caught the attention of Chelsea and Co., Hernandez is unlikely to enjoy that same freedom in another side.

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    The leader from left-back

    Although "a complete defender" in the middle – as Pioli describes the blueprint for Milan's ideal signing – would help, Hernandez is determined to play his part in defensive improvement.

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