STEVEN GERRARD has been speaking for the first time on Ryan Kent’s return to Rangers – with the manager thrilled to have him back on board.
The Light Blues confirmed the capture of the winger in the final moments of the transfer window last Monday, with Gerrard having chased the player all summer.
Speaking at this afternoon’s Ibrox press conference, Gerrard explained: “I’m very pleased and I don’t think it’s any secret how hard we tried and how long we tried for to get him in.
“We would have taken a loan – of course we would have. But to have him on a permanent deal and to have him find a home, I am delighted, I know the fans are delighted and I know everyone connected to the club is delighted to have him here, not just for a short time but for four years.
“It is fantastic for everyone. My job is to try and make this team and this squad as strong as I can, and I think if you look at the evidence of the previous 12 months and what he delivered here and how exciting he was to watch in all kinds of different games, it was a no-brainer for me to try as hard as I could.
“I also must mention how helpful Liverpool were. We pestered them for a long time for a loan and then, at the very end, we did business together so I think they deserve a special mention as well.
“I think he’ll have to work hard to get in the team, like always. But, I think this was an easy one for me for many reasons as every supporter I bumped into all the way through the transfer window and everyone connected to the club, the players in the dressing room – all they wanted to know was what was happening with Ryan Kent.
“So the decision was already made for me in many ways – it was all about getting the best deal for the club, the best deal for Liverpool and getting Ryan back to where he wanted to be.
“He had been at Liverpool for a long time and had been out on many loans, but now he has found a place where he can settle and try to find his best form for a long period of time, and that is what I am looking forward to seeing.”
Gerrard also called on Kent to rediscover the form he showed last season, though warned it may take him a little bit of time to get up to full speed.
“We want to try and make this team and squad competitive, and I am in a rush to do that. You can see since I have come in we have changed the team, the squad the personnel virtually across the board, so I think that shows intent in itself.
“But I think the board going out and spending this amount of money on Ryan shows how much we rate the player and how much we wanted to get the player through the door. Now it is over to Ryan to show everyone what he is capable of on a consistent basis.
“I am very confident that can happen as I know the player is happy. He was happy last year and it was the best form I’ve ever seen him play. It is there to be built-on now so I am really looking forward to that.
“I made no secret that I kept the number 14 shirt back for a reason. I did everything I could and was prepared to wait to the last minute, to the death of the transfer window, and there were days and times where I thought it wasn’t going to happen. But, thankfully we got it done in time.
“He is available for the weekend, and what I will say, is we have to be careful. He hasn’t been doing regular sessions and hasn’t had many game minutes, so I think we all have to appreciate where he is at from a physical point of view but he is available for selection which is great news.”