"Do I look happy? Do I look settled? Don't ask me silly questions then!"

Steven Gerrard wasn't taking prisoners after being asked by BT to respond to speculation linking him to the available Newcastle job.

While the Scouser's devilish grin showed he hadn't dialled up to the stratospheric intensity that sometimes greets those deemed to have asked something daft, his point was made decisively.

Gerrard's profile in English football, his myriad links to figures working behind the scenes and his record at Ibrox means he will inevitably be linked to most jobs that come available. When Aston Villa dispensed with Dean Smith, the speculation began within minutes. Recycled stories emerged from previous links to the Birmingham team's top job nearly two years ago. It's an obvious connection and one that will provide plenty of clicks for media organisations as every potential facet of a deal is dissected with the zeal and clumsiness of a second-year medical student attacking their first cadaver. 

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The prevailing narrative seems to be - if the Premier League comes calling, Gerrard will drop everything he's built in Govan and sprint down the road. And yet, this narrative flies in the face of everything we know about the man.

He's built a career brand on loyalty. He's never left a club midseason in his career. He's a guy who prides himself on his personal authenticity. Is he going to suddenly drop habits of a lifetime because the attraction of working with John McGinn is just too strong?

Of course, everything is context. If Liverpool come in, then the scenario outlined would obviously be the case - maybe even a truly elite club like Chelsea or Man City.

But this is Aston Villa.

They have only finished better than 15th once in the last decade and recently spent three years in the Championship. Newcastle was a far more attractive proposition as the richest club in the world looking to build something fresh and exciting from the ground up.

Villa have money, their net spending puts them 8th in the last half-decade, but that hardly offers them a competitive advantage amid the nation-state titans of the EPL. 

And Gerrard might ask himself, 'what even represents success there'?

A succession of top ten place finishes and cementing Villa within that more rarified strata would undoubtedly be solid work but would that be attractive to Liverpool when the time comes? A mid-table Premier League boss?

The manager's great friend Jamie Carragher represents the closest we can get to the 41-year-old himself. It's safe to say the former Liverpool defender will have the inside track on what his old friend is thinking.

He said: "I think Aston Villa as a club would be a great move for Steven Gerrard but the situation he finds himself in right now is that he took the title away from Celtic last season, and he's in a great position to win it again.

"I think in a perfect world you'd want to stay at Rangers to the end of the season and come away from there with two titles.

"I mean, this is not something coming from Steven Gerrard but, 'I look I've been in a job for four years in the Scottish Premiership', and I think sooner or later there's going to be a great chance Steven Gerrard is going to come to the Premier League.

"But for me, it's a difficult one. If he got offered the Aston Villa job, I don't think there'd be many jobs in the Premier League which he would get offered better than that.

"People talk about Liverpool, and that might be another two or three years with Jurgen Klopp but you're not going to get any jobs better, so it would be a decision for him.

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"But, in a perfect world, I think Steven Gerrard wants to come away from Rangers with another couple of trophies."

Carragher clearly feels Villa is a more attractive proposition than the one I've outlined but he's also very clear about where the Rangers manager's current priorities lie.

Reading between the lines, Gerrard might be open to a new challenge after the end of the season and perhaps Rangers will have to ready themselves for what would be an unwanted change in the summer.

But the prospect of that upheaval taking place amidst the huge task of securing Champions League football for Rangers, a feat that would leave them sitting pretty with a seat at European football's top table once again, is almost unthinkable.

Such a move would be a legacy-defining moment.

He watched from across the Clyde at how Brendan Rodgers immolated his place in Celtic history in a similar situation. But Rodgers' sense of self always appeared to be forefront in a way that seems less relevant to Gerrard. 

Th Scouser has never given the impression of a man that takes the authentic love of his people lightly or that he glides through life oblivious to how special that connection is.

Aston Villa may tick a lot of boxes. Being closer to home and family is the very obvious one, but opportunities will always come to a man of his standing. And right now, he has a crucial job to finish at a club that has come to mean a lot to him.

He said himself, "I’ve got two teams in my heart now. Rangers and Liverpool."

Gerrard may well have the chance to prove his authenticity once more.