Steven Gerrard has praised Leeds United as a 'fantastic' club as the odds are slashed on him being installed as the Whites' next boss. The former Rangers and Aston Villa chief is now second-favourite to take over at Elland Road, behind incumbent Sam Allardyce who is set for talks with the hierarchy over his long-term future after failing in his short-term mission to keep the club in the Premier League.
Gerrard has been out of work since being sacked by Villa in October and is available should Leeds decide to hand him the chance to spearhead their Championship promotion bid next season. Ex-Liverpool midfielder Gerrard spoke of his respect for Leeds in September before his Villa side came to Elland Road at the start of the following month for a game that finished goalless.
Asked in the build-up whether he was looking forward to that game, Gerrard said: "Not as much as Gary McAllister [the former Leeds captain and Gerrard's assistant manager]. He looks for this one more than me, but Leeds are a fantastic club.
"I've got a lot of respect for Leeds, I've followed them for many, many years. I was lucky enough to go and play at Elland Road on many occasions when I played.
"Great set of fans and a club that has took a few bumps, a few knocks along the way, but it seems to be back in a good place and I'm sure when they get everyone fully fit, strong and available, you'll see Leeds push and push hard."
Gerrard's optimism turned out to be misplaced, however, with Leeds' relegation confirmed on the final day of the season as they were beaten 4-1 at home by Spurs in a game they had to win to have any chance of survival - although the way things panned out, even a victory would not have spared them the drop as Everton beat Bournemouth to ensure another year in the top flight and consign the Whites and Leicester to the Championship.
Aside from Allardyce and Gerrard, West Brom boss - and former assistant to Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds - Carlos Corberan has also been linked with the Whites role, as has ex-Leicester City boss Bredan Rodgers, and former Leeds midfielder and Charlton Athletic and Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer.