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MARTIN KEOWN: Steven Gerrard can help Aston Villa beat Jack Grealish

MARTIN KEOWN: Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa could be the PERFECT match … the new boss is fearless, likeable and can help the club finally leave Jack Grealish

  • Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa could be the perfect union after their inauguration
  • The former Rangers boss is fearless and has been a winner from day one.
  • Villa is still reeling from Jack Grealish’s departure and Gerrard can help them move on.
  • Gerrard will have to decide whether to play with Ollie Watkins or Danny Ings up front.


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Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa could be a perfect match.

A young and ambitious coach who had the pleasure of succeeding in Scotland against a famous former club with an exceptional stadium, facilities and team.

Not long after breaking into the Liverpool squad, teenage Gerrard attacked me hard. I was impressed.

Here was a young man up for the challenge. Although he was respectful off the field, he was not afraid on it.

Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa seem to be the perfect match after the manager's introduction

Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa seem to be the perfect match after the manager’s introduction

He’s been a winner from day one and he’s likeable, which helps when a coach needs to pass on a point to a new group of players.

Gerrard has inherited a team full of options and will have been burning midnight oil in an attempt to find his best XI.

Dean Smith’s team was built around Jack Grealish and Villa has yet to recover from losing the goals, assists and creativity that came from their star man.

Following his £ 100 million sale to Manchester City, Villa did not attempt to replace Grealish with one player but three, using that money to sign Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings.

The former Rangers boss is fearless and has been a winner since his early days as a player.

The former Rangers boss is fearless and has been a winner since his early days as a player.

The former Rangers boss is fearless and has been a winner since his early days as a player.

Aston Villa is still reeling from Jack Grealish's departure and Gerrard must help the club move forward

Aston Villa is still reeling from Jack Grealish's departure and Gerrard must help the club move forward

Aston Villa is still reeling from Jack Grealish’s departure and Gerrard must help the club move forward

However, Smith never found a happy balance. Helping Villa forget about Grealish is part of Gerrard’s job.

He found a winning formula in the Rangers in 4-3-3 form, which helped them stay undefeated last season.

At the rear, you have to decide your center pair, and it will be interesting to see if Tyrone Mings starts alongside one of Kortney Hause, Axel Tuanzebe or Ezri Konsa.

Full-backs Matty Cash and Matt Targett look confident while in midfield, John McGinn has been as consistent as ever. Gerrard has options around McGinn, including a young talent in Jacob Ramsey and many more prospects at the academy, with Villa winning the 2021 FA Youth Cup.

Who starts in Gerrard’s front three? On the Rangers, he used a lone forward, suggesting that only one from Ollie Watkins or Ings will start up front. On the wings you can choose from Buendia, Bailey, Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi.

The English also have headaches with the national team and need to decide who to play in front.

The English also have headaches with the national team and need to decide who to play in front.

The English also have headaches with the national team and need to decide who to play in front.

In Villa’s last five league losses, Smith cut and switched.

It seemed like he was trying to please people, even starting three central defenders and both Watkins and Ings at the top. Unfortunately for Smith, it didn’t work out.

Now that Gerrard is in charge, his goal will be to instill much-needed consistency and start with three precious points.

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