Steven Gerrard signs extension as coach of Saudi’s Al-Ettifaq

AP , Friday 19 Jan 2024

Steven Gerrard signed a two-year extension as coach of Al-Ettifaq in a deal announced shortly after midfielder Jordan Henderson joined Ajax following a brief spell at the Saudi club.

FILE- Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard signed a two-year extension as coach of Saudi Arabia's Al-Ettifaq. Photo: AP


Gerrard's extension will keep the Liverpool great in charge until 2027 and comes amid a tough season for Al-Ettifaq, which is winless in its last eight games in the Saudi Pro League.

“We knew at the beginning this was a big job and a challenging job,” Gerrard said in the club's announcement late Friday. “We had to put in place new infrastructure like building a new training ground in phases and building a new stadium. But a lot has been achieved.”

The former Aston Villa manager said he's hopeful of January additions to help the team, which has scored just three goals during its winless slide and is eighth in the standings.

“I understand where we are in the league, but I am very confident we will improve,” he said.

Gerrard, who retired in 2016 after an 18-year playing career, joined Al-Ettifaq last summer on a two-year contract. He had a successful stint as manager of Scottish club Rangers but was fired at Villa in October 2022 after less than a year at the helm.

Earlier, Henderson completed his move to struggling Dutch powerhouse Ajax after lasting just six months at Al-Ettifaq.

Henderson, like Gerrard a former Liverpool captain, reportedly hadn't settled in the Middle East and saw a return to European soccer as important to confirming his place in England’s squad ahead of the summer’s European Championship.

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