Joey Barton backs Rangers' Steven Gerrard to be 'incredible coach'

Joey Barton
Joey Barton played eight times for Rangers before his contract was terminated

New Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton has backed Steven Gerrard to be a success at Rangers.

After a gambling-related ban, Barton, 35, is following former Liverpool captain Gerrard, 38, by moving into management.

Ex-Manchester City midfielder Barton had a brief playing spell at Ibrox.

"I expect [Gerrard] to do phenomenally well because everything in his life to this point would suggest he's going to do that," Barton told BBC Sport.

"At some point in the future, somebody's going to get it right there and when they do that place will be ready to take off.

"Knowing Steven and the guys who have gone in with him, they're full of enthusiasm and they've been given assurances probably before they take the job that they're going to be supported. If that comes to fruition, I think Steven Gerrard's going to be a great coach, as is Frank Lampard. Incredible players, I think they'll be incredible coaches."

Giving a light-hearted answer in his first news conference as Fleetwood boss, Barton said Gerrard would do well because "slow, plodding midfielders tend to be good managers".

With former England player Lampard, 39, taking over at Derby County, Barton made the claim that the trio of newcomers share traits with some of the game's leading managers.

"I think they'll be excellent, the pair of them," he said of Gerrard and Lampard.

Steven Gerrard (left) at the Toulon Tournament in France
Gerrard took in some of the Toulon Tournament as he started his work with Rangers last week

"They've played for some massive clubs, so I'd expect them to give everything, as they did as players.

"Pep Guardiola is the best coach but was a midfielder who had no pace and no skills. Mauricio Pochettino, a very similar profile.

"Zinedine Zidane would probably buck the trend but he was a midfielder. I am taking great refuge in the fact that midfielders tend to make really good coaches.

"I had no skills, I wasn't really big, wasn't really quick and wasn't really strong. So to survive as long as I did I had to be able to scheme so hopefully that will help me.

"Midfielders are constantly communicating because we are at the heart of the team. I say to players to be a central midfielder you need 360 vision all the time, you've got to see everything."

Barton, who played just eight games for Rangers before his exit in November 2016, applauds Gerrard and Lampard for giving up the comfort of television punditry to prove themselves as coaches.

"You can work in the media and be extremely well paid and they've certainly earned fortunes by being very good footballers," he said.

"To see great players, which Steven and Frank were, take a huge risk, I'd certainly tip my hat to them because it's a volatile environment. You only have to look at the managerial merry-go-round from last season to see people coming in and out of jobs.

"It's a huge leap of faith by them but they must believe supremely in their talents to get off the punditry chair.

"No doubt they have a wealth of experience, based on good and bad managers they have played with."

Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace were fined by Rangers last season
Kenny Miller, now a free agent, and Lee Wallace were fined by Rangers last season

Meanwhile, PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart has backed Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace to "come through this in the end" after being suspended by Rangers last season.

The pair were banned pending an investigation into an angry exchange with then manager Graeme Murty.

Veteran striker Miller's deal was due to expire at the end of season 2017-18 while club captain Wallace is contracted until next summer.

"We are representing and advising them behind the scenes and it is a difficult time for players when they have their private matters splashed across the papers and talked about on social media," said Wishart.

"Most of it is ill-informed and not accurate because nobody has been able to put their side of the story over yet.

"But the players are strong characters, strong lads and they will come through this in the end.

"The process is ongoing so, as much as I'm sure everybody would love to know the inside story, it would be wrong of me to say anything further."

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport