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Steven Gerrard suffers ANOTHER blow to his plans at struggling Al-Ettifaq after Plymouth Argyle poaches assistant coach Ian Foster to lead Championship side

Steven Gerrard suffers ANOTHER blow to his plans at struggling Al-Ettifaq after Plymouth Argyle poaches assistant coach Ian Foster to lead Championship side
Steven Gerrard suffers ANOTHER blow to his plans at struggling Al-Ettifaq after Plymouth Argyle poaches assistant coach Ian Foster to lead Championship side


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Steven Gerrard’s plans for Al-Ettifaq have suffered another bitter blow following the appointment of assistant coach Ian Foster in the top job at Championship side Plymouth Argyle. 

Foster moved with Gerrard to Saudi Arabia over the summer after leaving his role as head coach of England’s under-20 squad, and Gerrard is likely to feel even more vulnerable in the Kingdom in the throes of a challenging first season.  

His Saudi Pro League side has now gone two months without a win in the division after they conceded a last-minute equaliser against Al-Hazm at the end of December. 

Despite recruiting heavily over the summer and drawing international talents including Demarai Gray, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Jordan Henderson to the Dammam club, Al-Ettifaq sit eighth in the table, and a whopping 28 points off league leaders Al-Hilal. 

As per the Mirror, the club are set to enter the January window in a bid to bolster their ranks before the return to club action on February 15. 

Steven Gerrard suffered another blow to his plans at Al-Ettifaq with the recruitment of his assistant coach Ian Foster (left)

The embattled Saudi Pro League side are winless after two months and currently sit eighth

The embattled Saudi Pro League side are winless after two months and currently sit eighth

The former Liverpool star will hope that history doesn't repeat itself after Michael Beale's exit at Aston Villa heralded Gerrard's own 2022 sacking

The former Liverpool star will hope that history doesn’t repeat itself after Michael Beale’s exit at Aston Villa heralded Gerrard’s own 2022 sacking

Gerrard has previously struggled with the loss of talented assistants, with the departure of Michael Beale to Queens Park Rangers in 2022 heralding the beginning of the end for the Liverpool’s legend stint at the helm of the club. 

The former Rangers manager left the club languishing in 17th place, before the appointment of Unai Emery transformed the side’s fortunes and saw them snag the last of the European places. 

Before drawing with Al-Hazm last month, Al-Ettifaq had been unbeaten in every encounter with the side – who sit dead last in 18th – since February 2020. 

Although there are said to be question marks over Gerrard’s suitability for his role, the break in match action could give the manager time to regroup and look to improve for the remainder of the season. 

Foster could find himself in the Plymouth Argyle dug-out on Saturday, when the club faces off with Sutton United in their first tie of the FA Cup campaign, but focus is likely to be squarely on keeping the team afloat in the Championship. 

After mixed results, the south coast club sits 18th in the second division, and there are hopes that the manager labelled ‘the perfect candidate’ can help them improve their standings. 

Foster previously coached England's under-20s side but left the FA over the summer for Saudi

Foster previously coached England’s under-20s side but left the FA over the summer for Saudi

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‘He was the perfect candidate to lead our great football club forward as we embark on our next five-year mission,’ Argyle’s chairman, Simon Hallett, said in the club’s announcement. 

‘Ian showed a passion and knowledge for the club throughout the interview process, and showcased in some detail how he sees the best way to take forward our exciting and dynamic young squad.

‘Having worked with some of the best players this country has produced, he has a passion for developing young footballers, as well as playing expansive, attacking football which fits perfectly with how we want the club to progress.’

The club’s director of football Neil Dewsnip and current assistant coach Kevin Nancekivell will round out Foster’s coaching team. 

Written by bourbiza mohamed

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