Assessing Steven Gerrard’s Great Start To Life At Aston Villa

Assessing Steven Gerrard’s Great Start To Life At Aston Villa

Dean Smith’s departure from Aston Villa was met with split responses. On one hand, this was the man who navigated the club back to the top flight and ensured their safety in their first season of Premier League football — albeit in controversial circumstances. On the other hand, getting a manager in with Steven Gerrard’s pedigree could be exactly what the club need to make the step up to the next level.

A champion last season in the SPL with Rangers, Gerrard, who had also coached at the Liverpool academy after retiring in 2017, traded allergenics in November and joined Villa on a long-term deal, although many who bet on football are viewing it as a stepping stone job before an inevitable return to Merseyside. Villa have been flying since Gerrard’s arrival and a feel-good factor looks to have been instilled around Villa Park. Read on, as we unpick why things have gone so well for Gerrard so far.

Shrewd recruitment

When Jack Grealish joined Manchester City for a British record of £100 million this summer, the big question asked of Villa was how they would replace him. Smith spent big money on Emi Buendía and Leon Bailey which were smart investments, but Gerrard’s pulling power has meant former team mate Phillipe Coutinho and French international Lucas Digne joined Villa from Barcelona and Everton, respectively.

Both new signings have hit the ground running, with the former scoring on his debut and the latter with an assist against his former club as Villa got off to a great start to the new year. With Gerrard in charge the possibilities for new signings are endless, even as far as linking Luis Suárez with an ambitious move to Villa Park. Indeed, next summer certainly looks interesting in the West Midlands.

Related: Gerrard: Countinho Will Transform Aston Villa For Good

Never say die

A big part of what Gerrard has instilled in this squad is his own passion and spirit, something that is clearly resonating with his players. Quite often a football team is a reflection of their own manager’s personality and you only need to look at Villa’s comeback against Manchester United to see that. Faced with a two-goal deficit to come back from, the Villains, inspired by some Coutinho magic, forced their way back in the game for a hard-earned point and with some more big games around the corner, they will need to show that consistent fight and belief to finish the season as strongly as possible.

Despite United knocking them out of the FA Cup, and the hopes of a trophy in his first season being eradicated, Gerrard certainly has big long-term plans for Villa, suggesting they could go as far as Europe but that it wasn’t exactly an overnight job. He said: “Success in football is always about winning football matches.

“Long term, the club would like to be back at the European level, but I don’t think it’s the right time now to put any date on that.”

Bright future

It’s been over a year now since covid infested the Villa training ground and forced 14 new debuts for Villa academy players in the FA Cup against Liverpool. While the Reds may have walked away 4-1 victors on the night, the experience would have been invaluable for the youngsters and demonstrated the fantastic work going on to integrate the youth into the first team. Since then, we’ve seen the likes of Jacob Ramsey burst onto the scene in claret and blue while Louie Barry, who scored Villa’s goal in that strange cup tie, continue to push for places in the future.

Gerrard is hardly bereft of options as far as the academy are concerned, and having players like Ramsey and Carney Chukwuemeka to bolster the squad will prove to be a massive boost as the summer transfer window approaches and we see what kind of team the Liverpool legend is attempting to assemble — if it’s anything like his Rangers outfit than expect entertainment from the word go.

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  • Igbekun Abo 2 years ago

    Eguavoen can learn a lot from Steven Gerrard’s pragmatic approach.

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