THE seasons as a player and a manager, the years as a husband and a father, have shaped Steven Gerrard into the man and leader that he is today.

When Gerrard speaks, people listen. There are times when those roles are reversed, though, moments when Gerrard is all ears as those around him open up on their personal and professional issues.

The move into management has tested Gerrard in a different way over the last three years. His qualities and characteristics are still the same, but there are unique challenges associated with that role compared to the one of captain that he performed with such distinction.

HeraldScotland: Steven Gerrard

Gerrard participated in a 'Team Talk' event hosted by the Rangers Charity Foundation and club sponsors 32Red last week as supporters opened up on their mental health and their lives during lockdown.

He would speak with a typical authority and aura, yet he was caring and considerate in his answers as fans told their stories and quizzed the man that is a legend in Liverpool and a God in Glasgow about his time in the game and at home. As always, Gerrard was happy to listen.

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“In life, there are certain things that are above football," Gerrard said. "None of us want to say that because we all love the club.

“Growing up at Liverpool and now being here at Rangers, football is a big part of my life.

“But as a manager, you have to deal with certain things that are above football.

“It could be a player loses a family member or a loved one could have a terminal illness, for example.

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“These are things which fans and people on the outside don't see. It's my job to make sure that I'm as big a support as I can be.

“There are times when I have got to put football secondary and give them the support they need from a lifestyle point of view.

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“They might need to be away from the game and get some family time. They might need on-going support or someone to open up to in a one-v-one situation so they can get things off their chest.

“I wanna be the type of manager who is always there for my players and my staff.

“It can't always be football. I need to be that care and support for them from a lifestyle point of view as well.

“We've had to deal with many things here at Rangers and I had to do it too with my younger kids when I was the Liverpool Under-19s coach.

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"You just want to support them in any way, shape or form to try to get them back in a better place."

There are few who are born to win. Gerrard was born to lead, too, and he has had a transformative impact on and off the park at Ibrox during his three years as Rangers manager.

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Moments of anxiety or anger are always going to arrive, especially at a club where the demands and the standards - which Gerrard has unquestionably raised - are as high. He is used to that, though.

Gerrard has been an inspiring personality throughout his career and the 40-year-old has now assumed an almost father-like figure as he encourages and empathises with those under his guidance.

“I would like to think I’m a good judge," Gerrard said. "When you build relationships with people you know how they are feeling. You can try to read their behaviours.

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"When you are part of a football team and a football culture you spend a lot of time away from the training pitch and away from the game, in hotels and around the training ground. I think you can pick it up quite quickly when someone is not themselves.

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“Because I was a captain so early I always liked to ask people how they are. I like to take people away and have coffees with them and try to get a feel for how people are feeling away from the game.

"I always try to be there for people if they wanted to talk about stuff that was private, and try to be that support network for other players as well.

“Obviously I’ve got that on a bigger scale now, being a manager. You have to be there for the full group. You have to be there for your staff as well.

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"I want to be that manager where they are comfortable coming to share things with me if it is going to help them. My door is always open. We have dealt with all kinds of different stuff.

"Obviously it will remain private but on all kinds of different levels in life and in football we have had some real private chats with the players and tried to be that support network for them.”

There have undoubtedly been some difficult days for Gerrard to overcome but he emerges stronger for the trials and tribulations that he endures in a game that has given him a myriad of highs and lows.

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It takes a certain kind of character to be able to achieve from adversity. That trait is and always has been one of Gerrard's strong points.

“What I will say is I am quite mentally strong in terms of bouncing back," Gerrard said. "I’ve come to terms with accepting that during being a player or a manager it’s going to be a journey of highs and lows.

HeraldScotland: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

"You have to deal with the bad days as well as the good days and have that bouncebackability to always come back stronger and try to use setbacks and disappointments in your life to make you stronger and come back better and learn from certain situations.

"But there is no doubt about it, I’ve had some down days and some low days during my career.

"From a personal point of view I’ve also had some setbacks in life to do with family members and stuff. I think the key to it all is never keeping it in and thinking it’s the right thing to keep it in.

"Always try to have people around you who you can talk to and share setbacks and problems with. I think that always helps you get back in a better place. That’s what I’ve always learned from experience."

*Rangers have secured a five-year partnership extension with 32Red, building on one of the longest running sponsorships in football. 32Red will continue to deliver Team Talk – a men’s mental health initiative that gives Rangers fans a support network to share their own mental health experiences.