Steven Gerrard says he 'will never give up' on the challenge of managing Alfredo Morelos

Just under a year ago, it looked as if Steven Gerrard’s relationship with Alfredo Morelos might be at breaking point.
Alfredo Morelos celebrates his second goal in Rangers' 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Alfredo Morelos celebrates his second goal in Rangers' 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Alfredo Morelos celebrates his second goal in Rangers' 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The striker’s late return from a trip home to Colombia last February saw him disciplined by Rangers and miss the Scottish Cup quarter-final defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle which left Gerrard at the lowest ebb of his managerial tenure.

But while Gerrard readily agrees Morelos is the most challenging of his players to handle, he insists he never contemplated washing his hands of the 24-year-old who returned to top form with his double in last Sunday’s 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

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“Alfredo is a guy and a player that I will never give up on because of what he has given me in terms of goals and the help and support that he has given to the team since I have been in the door,” said Gerrard.

“He is in a better place now because he is on the back of scoring two goals in a Man of the Match performance. So you can imagine he is really on a high at the moment.

“He is a challenge, of course. There is the language thing. He hasn’t always got things right. But you have to take into consideration his age. He needs a manager and a coaching staff who are going to support him at the right time. You can’t expect him to be perfect, he’s a human being.

“We want the best for Alfredo in his career. We want to give him that support and that love like we do for all the other players. But it was really fantastic for me to see him back scoring high quality goals at important times. And we are going to need him doing that between now and the end of the season.

“What happens beyond that we will just have to wait and see, but we will always be respectful of him and what he wants.

“But the important thing is that he always remembers the support that he’s had from supporters since day one and his job is to try and make them as happy as he can between now and the end of the season. That should be all he is focused on.”

Morelos and his wife Yesenia celebrated the birth of their first child, daughter Leonela, last May and Gerrard feels it has now sparked a positive change in the player.

“He has got a new member in his family so you can see signs of maturity since that’s happened,” added Gerrard. “His life is in a real good place at the moment. He should just continue to enjoy his football and be the best version of himself.

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“I have to treat Alfredo differently in terms of the language. His communication has got better but we do lean on [player liaison officer] Katy Lamont within the club, who speaks fluent Spanish.

“We use Katy if we want to sit down and have an extended conversation with him – if something is really important.

“But in terms of his treatment on a daily basis or the standards we set on and off the pitch, he gets the same as everyone else. The players get fantastic support and the idea is that we take all the excuses away.”

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