Lucas Digne admits he was left awestruck by Steven Gerrard after the Aston Villa boss joined in impromptu during a training session recently.
The Villa boss enjoyed a highly-disguished career as a player and was regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation. The highlight of his career was perhaps the 2005 Champions League final, when an imperious Gerrard inspired an incredible Liverpool comeback. As such, his reputation in the game remains high.
Now cutting his trade as a manager, Gerrard made a huge impression in Glasgow with Rangers. And his bright start at Villa Park suggests his career in the dug-out may prove just almost as successful as it did as a player.
Nonetheless, Digne – one of Gerrard’s first signings as Villa boss – was still caught by surprise when Gerrard joined in training one day.
“He sometimes takes part in the training sessions,” Digne said, as cited by the Daily Mirror.
“He has lost nothing. He’s still really amazing and his passes are incredible.
“I grew up in France watching him as a player. He is not only a legend in England. Everybody knows his name.”
Digne admits the pull of Gerrard was a major reason in his decision to join Villa.
“He was a massive reason I came here. He presented me with the project for the club and how it wanted to be up near the top of the league.”
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Digne’s arrival at Villa Park coincided with the signing of Philippe Coutinho.
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The Brazilian is back in the Premier League after four, less-than-fruitful, years with Barcelona.
He will be hoping to continue his impressive form since signing when Leeds are the visitors on Wednesday night.
His signing is another example of Gerrard’s pulling power and stunned the world of football.
Digne though was less fazed by it, having played with Coutinho at the Nou Camp.
“I knew him before he came here. And for me it’s a big pleasure to play with him again,” Digne added.
“He is just an unbelievable player. He has so much quality and has that magic touch.”