Former City duo among early favourites for Rangers job

Swansea City manager Russell Martin applauds the fans after the Sky Bet Championship match at the Co

Swansea City manager Russell Martin - Credit: PA

Steven Gerrard’s arrival at Aston Villa has seen two men with strong Norwich City links feature among the early favourites for the job at Rangers. 

The former England midfield star led the Glasgow club back to the summit of Scottish football last season when Celtic were usurped as champions for the first time since 2011. 

The Liverpool legend’s relationship with Villa chief executive Christian Purslow appears key to the switch, which was confirmed this morning, who was previously managing director of the Merseyside giants. 

The Villa situation had unfolded similarly to Norwich making a change at the weekend, with Daniel Farke dismissed on Saturday by City and Dean Smith removed from his post at Villa Park on Sunday. 

Frank Lampard remains favourite for the Canaries vacancy but had also appeared among the favourites for the Villa job, while Smith was swiftly expected to be in contention to become City’s new head coach as well. 

As Norwich fans eagerly await news, Villa have made their move and that has seen speculation about the Rangers vacancy kick into gear. 

Canaries legend Russell Martin is currently the second favourite at 3/1 with Sky Bet, behind former Gers and Barcelona midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who has had coaching and managerial experience at Feyenoord and in China since retiring. 

Martin spent the second half of 2017-18 on loan at Rangers after falling out of favour at Norwich under Farke, scoring once in 17 games, when former Norwich academy coach Graeme Murty had stepped up to take charge after a poor start to the season under Pedro Caixinha. 

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That season ended in third place, 12 points adrift of Celtic, with the Scotland international subsequently speaking to his hometown newspaper, the Brighton Argus. 

“For me it was a bit wrong place, wrong time,” he said. “The club was a bit all over the place and then a change of manager, who was an interim manager anyway. 

“But I loved playing for a football club of that size and that support. Playing for Rangers or Celtic, it’s a cup final every game. Teams are desperate to beat you so you have to cope with that pressure and expectancy.” 

He wound down his playing days at Walsall and MK Dons, stepping up to take over at Stadium MK in November 2019 and steering them away from relegation trouble. 

That improved to 13th last season as Martin implemented an attractive playing style, with his progress earning him the Swansea job just before the start of this season.  

The 35-year-old's team are currently 13th in the Championship after a good run of form was halted by a 4-0 loss away to leaders Bournemouth on Saturday. 

Former Norwich boss Alex Neil also features, offered as the fifth favourite at 12/1 behind former Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes (4/1) and Chelsea legend John Terry (10/1), who left his role as assistant manager at Villa in the summer to pursue his first role as head coach. 

Russell Martin of Norwich gets instructions from Norwich Manager Alex Neil during a break in play du

Russell Martin and manager Alex Neil during Norwich City's 2-2 draw at West Ham in the Premier League during September 2015 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Neil, who led City to their play-off triumph in 2015, left Preston in March after almost four seasons of Championship stability on a relatively small budget. 

To intertwine matters further, Lampard is also offered at 12/1 for the Rangers job, while departed City boss Farke is included further down the list at 25/1. 

The Glasgow giants currently sit top of the Scottish Premiership after 13 games, four points clear of resurgent rivals Celtic.

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