‘You could kick him and he would shake your hand after the game’: Steven Gerrard says Patrick Vieira was one of the ‘toughest battles’ they faced as they prepared to renew their rivalry when Aston Villa take on Crystal Palace
- Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa will face Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace
- The pair were involved in many fierce battles as Liverpool and Arsenal players.
- They previously met as Rangers and Nice coaches in a preseason friendly.
- Gerrard has praised his former rival for the work he has done so far at Crystal Palace
Steven Gerrard and Patrick Vieira enjoyed many fierce battles on the field, and on Saturday they will renew their rivalry on the touchline when Aston Villa take on Crystal Palace.
The pair took part in some memorable and hard-hitting matches when Liverpool took on Arsenal in the early 2000s.
Both men are now in the early stages of their Premier League managerial careers and if the match at Selhurst Park is anything like their epic encounters on the field, an equally painful match is expected.
Steven Gerrard and Patrick Vieira were involved in some fierce battles as players.
Gerrard and Vieira will meet on the touchline when Aston Villa takes on Crystal Palace
However, it will not be the first time they meet in the opposite dugout.
Gerrard said in his pre-game press conference: ‘I faced him earlier in a preseason friendly when he was a coach at Nice and I was at Rangers.
‘He is a man for whom I have a lot of admiration and respect. First of all, as a player, I had a lot of battles against Patrick.
Their battles on the field often involved big 50/50 challenges in the Arsenal vs. Liverpool matchups.
Gerrard remembers how he was able to shake Vieira’s hand after the game despite kicking him during it.
“ Some ups and downs, but he was certainly a player you could go to and compete for and you could kick him, you could fight him, you could compete against him and he would shake your hand after the game.
“He was a world-class footballer and one of the toughest battles I have ever faced in terms of being a player.”
Liverpool legend Gerrard outpointed Vieira when Rangers took on Nice in July 2020, with Jermaine Defoe and Jamie Barjonas scoring in a 2-0 win.
When asked if there were any games during his playing career against Vieira that stood out, he replied: ‘I don’t want to sit here and brag, I have to be next to this guy for 90 minutes and he’s 5’8’ ‘. strong so I have to be careful with my words.
“He absolutely terrified Liverpool in the 2001 FA Cup final. I had the unfortunate task of trying to score him, and it was too good for me that day, but we managed to turn the game around and win 2-1, so it certainly ended. Good to me ”.
The pair previously met on the touchline when Gerrard’s Rangers beat Vieira’s Nice 2-0.
And he added about the Frenchman: ‘I think the things that maybe we have in comparison is that when we finished our careers, we certainly went to the beginning to start in terms of the training route, going to youth football (Gerrard in Liverpool, Vieira in Manchester City) where you can learn away from the cameras and make a ton of mistakes and gain confidence in your shot. I’m sure Patrick would echo that.
“ He’s more experienced than me at this point, but I really admire the fact that he went to the City Under-23 team and really pushed himself to grow and evolve as a coach. I have a lot of respect for that. ‘
Vieira left Nice in December 2020 and returned to management in the summer replacing Hodgson.
The Frenchman is off to a promising start to life at Crystal Palace, with the club in 10th place in the league after 12 games.
Gerrard in his press conference congratulated the Frenchman for the work he has done so far and hopes that his battles with Vieira will be just as tough from the touchline.
Gerrard praised Vieira for his successful start at Crystal Palace before the clash.
He said: ‘I hope the same thing happens from the side. I know he is a winner, a competitor, he has started the work at Crystal Palace very well.
“ The style has changed, I must say that Roy Hodgson did a fantastic job before, but it seems that he has built on that good work, he has gotten much younger in his recruitment, he differs in his style and has his team flying. high right now. ” .
“It is going to be a difficult test, we have a lot of respect for the game to come, but we also want to take advantage of our good work this week.”
Gerrard only made the jump from Rangers to Aston Villa earlier this month, but got off to a winning start with a 2-0 win against Brighton.
The victory ended a sterile streak of five consecutive losses that led to Dean Smith getting the sack.
The Liverpool legend got off to a winning start at Villa with a 2-0 win over Brighton