Steven Gerrard is said to be on the shortlist of candidates for the Newcastle manager’s role, and his comments yesterday appear to have left the door ajar for an approach.

With some national media titles, like the Daily Mirror, claiming he has turned the role down, the Rangers manager called it “fake news”.

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Asked if he had turned down an approach from Newcastle, he said: “Fake news. Not that I’m aware of.”

Those are hardly the words of a manager ruling out a move to St James’ Park. They are, however, the words of someone who has not yet received any contact with the Magpies.

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There is no doubt a successful move for the former Liverpool and England legend would be a risky move, with him only having been in management for a year, but it would surely be a risk worth taking.

He has done a fantastic job at Ibrox, and has closed the gap on Glasgow rivals Celtic in his first season. Rangers will certainly fight to keep him, and Gers fans will be desperate for him to stay.

Newcastle simply must get this appointment right

Rafa Benitez’s replacement must be a big name that will be in a position to galvanise the club and fans, and reunite everyone behind his project.

Former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores was the latest name mentioned, but as good a manager as he is, he would not have the high profile background that would be able to bring everyone together.

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It is a similar story with other names allegedly in the frame like Sean Dyche or Roberto Martinez.

An underwhelming appointment is likely to infuriate fans further, and make the prospect of proposed boycotts and protests gather momentum, which will undoubtedly affect performances on the pitch.

If appointing someone like Gerrard is seen as a risk, then stoking the flames around fans’ unrest is a far bigger one.

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