Michael Beale hailed Steven Gerrard as ‘a huge influence’ on his career as he thanked his mentor for giving him a platform to go on and become Rangers boss.
The Londoner worked as first-team coach under former Liverpool captain Gerrard for three-and-a-half years at Ibrox and six months at Aston Villa before he took the reins at QPR in June.
Beale feels indebted to Gerrard for helping him develop to the extent he was headhunted by Gers after Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s axeing.
‘Steven’s been a huge influence on me as a person as he has very high standards, very high morals,’ he said.
‘The time I worked with him here has enabled me to be sat in a position like this. He brought me on a lot in terms of management and leadership. I added a different part to his management team in terms of the coaching on the pitch.’
Beale said he had Gerrard’s ‘support’ as he embarks on his own journey at Rangers but said there are ‘subtle differences’ in how he goes about business. I don’t compare myself to anybody, Steven is himself and I think he’s going to go on and be a fantastic manager with his staff,’ said Beale. ‘This is the start of a new journey here for me and there will be subtle differences.’
Beale apologised to QPR fans angered by his decision to move a month after declaring he was ‘all in’ at Loftus Road.
Beale, 42, claimed he was fully committed to the Sky Bet Championship club after turning down an approach from Wolves in October but then left to take over at Gers this week.
Asked if he understood why QPR fans felt ‘betrayed’, Beale said: ‘I understand. At the time I spoke with honestly. The (Wolves offer) was a wonderful opportunity, so I was very honest about my feelings towards QPR and the direction they were going.
‘This (Rangers offer) came out of nowhere. It’s a wonderful club, an institution. They were Europa League finalists six months ago and I couldn’t turn it down and didn’t want to.
‘I apologise for disappointing people down there, it’s a really good project.’
Beale helped Gerrard lead Rangers to a 55th league title in 2021 and, although they trail Celtic by nine points, he acknowledges his main priority is to make the Ibrox side top dogs again.
‘We need to win 56 as soon as possible, we need to improve our cup record and we need to improve the identity on the pitch,’ he said. ‘All the players have got a lot of responsibility to their own careers and it’s my job to get the best out of them.’
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