Steven Gerrard wanted a championship management position before agreeing to join Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq, but reveals he never heard anything about any potential opportunities

Steven Gerrard has revealed he was turned down by two Championship clubs ahead of his move to Saudi Arabia.

The Liverpool legend, speaking after his Al-Ettifaq side suffered an upset and secured a 2-1 win over a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Al-Nassr, said he left for the Middle East after hearing nothing of the couple, presumably Leicester. City and Leeds United.

“I had a few other things on the table at championship level and I had to make a decision that I thought was right for me,” explained ex-Glasgow Rangers and Aston Villa boss Gerrard when asked why he didn’t agree to to Saudi when first approached.

“After being patient, this was the best offer on the table, because we had two offers that had a chance, they were taken away from me instead of me making that decision.”

The 43-year-old, who made new signing Jordan Henderson his captain, added: “I had two jobs in the championship. I’m not afraid to say that, I never got those jobs, and I didn’t want to stay out of the game much longer and this was the best thing on the table at the time.”

Steven Gerrard has revealed he was turned down by two Championship clubs ahead of his move to Saudi Arabia

Gerrard (right) eventually decided to move to Saudi Arabia to take over at Pro League side Al-Ettifaq

Gerrard (right) eventually decided to move to Saudi Arabia to take over at Pro League side Al-Ettifaq

Gerrard said Al-Ettifaq had to make changes before he could agree on a deal that would have made him one of the highest paid managers in the world. “To be fair to the club, they needed a preparation plan,” he explained.

“They had to sign, they had to make changes to the environment, the facilities, big decisions had to be made on their part.”

After watching his side come from behind a strike from Sadio Mane to take three points in scorching Dammam, where the kick-off took place in temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius, Gerrard also revealed that he would like to return in the future to the UK. “I have ambitions to go back one day,” he said.

“I have ambitions to be the best manager I can be and be involved in the biggest challenges out there, but whether I think this is going to happen, of course those are questions for other people, but by doing well here “I’m sure it will give me a better chance.”

The former England player, who saw goals from Swede Robin Quaison and former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele secure a costly victory, admitted he has had to adjust his management style thanks to the ferocious climate.

“When I’m sitting in my house, and I’ve got Sky News on, you see different countries appear around the world and numbers and heat, you don’t really realize and appreciate that kind of heat until you actually come to work in these conditions,” he said .

“The climate has certainly been tough and challenging. I’m definitely more used to the European weather than the Saudi weather, so I’ll have to adapt, and so will some of the purchases we’ve made from Europe. It means we have to do things slightly differently, if you will, compared to what I used to do at Rangers and Villa. We don’t want to leave our energy on the training pitch, so we have to go shorter and really pay attention to the recovery of the players.’

Gerrard added that he also missed his loved ones. “There is a personal challenge off the field,” he said. “My family is not here, they will be arriving in the next few weeks, so that will definitely help. I’ll take the challenges, accept them, I know what I signed up for, but there will be a period of adjustment and we’ll have to adapt, not just me, but also my coaching staff and some of the signings we’ve made, but that’s up to us.’

A delighted Gerrard praised Henderson’s influence, who came on in the 87th minute. “We’ve put him in a place in the team where he can be our coach on the field, if you want,” he said. “We know what he has to offer, I certainly do more than others.

“He’s still not match fit because of the summer, we know he’s extremely fit anyway. He played for the sake of the team tonight, wasn’t necessarily ready, but I think he showed what a top athlete he is because it was a credit to him to play in that series at the level for so long on which he sits.’

Neymar is being heralded as the latest big money signing in the SPL, joining Paris Saint-Germain’s Al-Hilal, and Gerrard is thrilled but wary of the challenge the Brazilian poses.

“The name speaks for itself,” he said. “He’s given me so much pleasure watching him, Barcelona, ​​PSG, Brazil, I don’t think the lad gets enough credit for the numbers he’s put up over the last 10 years.

“I don’t want him to come because he won’t come to my team, but he will certainly bring a lot of value, quality and credibility. He’s an A-list football star in Hollywood terms, the name speaks for itself, and it makes my job extremely hard.’