Steven Gerrard has hailed Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne as “statement signings” who have the “steel and style” to help quickly turn Aston Villa into a major Premier League force.
“They are definitely a sign of optimism and ambition,” Gerrard said of this week’s arrivals. “We want to move now, we don’t want to wait.” The manager says the illustrious newcomers have the quality and know-how to improve their team-mates in the same way players such as Dietmar Hamann helped Gerrard develop during his playing days at Liverpool.
“When I was younger I was lucky enough to play with Dietmar Hamann and Gary McAllister, players with real pedigree who had been there and done it before and they helped me get my game across. at the top level,” he said. “You just have to be around them, watching them on a daily basis. We have young defenders, midfielders and forwards who really look up to Lucas and Phil, really appreciate what they have done in their careers and strive Over the last two days you’ve seen an excitement in the dressing room that we’ve signed two players who are ready now, with real pedigree and who still have lots in our view.
Coutinho arrived on loan from Barcelona, where he has enjoyed a rocking period since joining from Liverpool in 2018. Gerrard scoffed at the idea that the 29-year-old Brazilian, whom he played with at Anfield, might have surpassed its best level.
“We signed a wonderful footballer,” Gerrard said. “It makes no sense for me to listen to keyboard warriors at Barcelona. I know the player, I know the boy and I’m confident we can get him moving. He’s a fantastic talent. He needs smile and enjoy his football, to feel the confidence, the support and the love, and I have no doubt that we will see the real Philippe Coutinho.
Helping Coutinho find the fun again is key to allowing him to express his talent, Gerrard said. “I think Philippe would say that himself and that’s probably why we had the opportunity to bring him here. You can see that he is a player who needs to feel loved and supported, like the majority of footballers. I was the same.”
Gerrard was equally enthusiastic about Digne, saying Villa pounced once they learned the left-back had grown unhappy at Everton. “He’s a top player with a top pedigree who knows how to win – he brings that experience. At the same time he fits into the system and the way you want to play, which is His fortuitous creation, his quality as a centerer, his athleticism and also he is able to be very clever defensively.
Gerrard suggested Villa could make further additions this month, identifying the centre-back as an area they would like to strengthen following Axel Tuanzebe’s departure.
Coutinho and Digne could make their debuts on Saturday when Villa host Manchester United, who knocked them out of the FA Cup on Monday when Villa were aggrieved to see a goal disallowed.
“I’m sure Villa Park will bounce back,” Gerrard said. “I’m sure there will be a bit more upside because of what happened on Monday night but also the arrival of two fantastic players. We can’t wait for that.