Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard may ban any mention of Jack Grealish in training sessions as he ushers in a new era at the club, according to one pundit.
Gerrard has made himself one of the headline acts of the international break by returning to the Premier League. He starred in the division as a player, but this is his first crack at managing there.
And while he had strong links with the Liverpool job, he will try his luck at Villa as he adds to his CV.
Gerrard’s only other major job – at Rangers – saw him lead the club to a landmark league title. He left Ibrox with the Gers in a fairly strong position, but he faces a different prospect at Villa.
They have lost five Premier League matches in a row. However, such form comes following major investment after Jack Grealish’s £100million sale to Manchester City.
Grealish was Villa’s standout star and much of the talk since his exit has been about how they will cope without him. Villa CEO Christian Purslow set the tone when he claimed that the summer arrivals bring his best attributes back into the team.
According to Kevin Phillips, though, Gerrard will make sure such talk does not continue while he is in charge.
“The squad is very good,” the ex-Premier League striker told Football Insider. “It is just about getting the best out of them now.
“Everyone has to get over the hangover of Jack Grealish going. I wouldn’t be surprised it Steven comes in and says, ‘I don’t want any mention of Grealish around the training ground now’.
“‘He was brilliant for the club but he has gone.’ They need to get over it and get on with it.
“Steven will come in with fresh ideas and this is now about the next chapter for Aston Villa. That is the way forward.”
Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey have enjoyed mixed debut seasons for Villa so far.
Gerrard slammed for Villa move
While many pundits have welcomed Gerrard’s return to the Premier League, he has also faced criticism for leaving Rangers as he did.
The Gers sit top of the Scottish Premiership and can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.
Richard Keys wrote in his assessment of the move: “Welcome back Steven. Although I wish you’d taken a bit more care about the manner in which you accepted the Villa job.
“I said this on Twitter last week – and I stand by it. Leaving Rangers like a thief in the night was poor.”