Pundit Peter Crouch reckons new Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard will follow in the footsteps of Premier League-winning duo Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.
Gerrard, 41, ended his successful spell with Rangers to replace boyhood fan Dean Smith at Villa Park. His remit is to steer them clear of the relegation zone and ultimately back into Europe.
Many see the Villa job as a form of audition for Liverpool, as it is Gerrard’s first time managing in the Premier League.
But the former midfielder is keen to stress that is not the case. At his first press conference, he insisted the focus should be on a club as big as Villa.
Gerrard was successful in his first game since taking over as the Villans beat Brighton 2-0 at home. Late goals from Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings saw them end their abysmal five-game losing streak.
Villa fans will be hoping for a similarly inspiring performance in their next match. They travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday at 15:00.
Writing about Gerrard on his Daily Mail column, Crouch said: ‘He just loves it, doesn’t he? Watch him celebrate those two goals on his first day in the Aston Villa dugout. That cannot be manufactured. It’s just in him. He lives and breathes the job.
‘That dedication should stand him in good stead to make a success of this Premier League lark. And success would surprise nobody, especially those who know him.’
Crouch reckons the Liverpool legend’s personality is perfect for him to thrive as a head coach. ‘The main thing with Stevie is that he backs himself and I really enjoy watching his media commitments,’ he added.
‘His press conference last week was very revealing, making sure he relayed that this job is not just a stepping stone to Anfield.
‘I was interested to see what he had to say, because Stevie is one of those characters you can take a lot from, and he said all the right things. He’s emotional, can get a bit angry and that passion shines through.
‘All of the top managers now — Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel being the best trio — are transparently emotional.
‘They manage every minute of the game, living it from start to finish, and that is what Stevie possesses. It’s in his blood.’
Villa man has coach-like presence – Gerrard
Meanwhile, Gerrard has lauded veteran wide man Ashley Young for his impact both on and off the pitch.
The 36-year-old, now in his second spell at Villa, got an assist in the victory over Brighton. After the game, Gerrard said: “I know Ashley extremely well and he’s been absolutely outstanding since we walked through the door. Not just on the training pitch but his leadership and standard-setting.
“We see players like him as an outer-layer of the staff, if you like, who really help us when we need to lean on him.
“He was ready and the big thing about Ash is he can play right-back, left-back, he can play as an eight, a 10 or wide. That’s what good players allow you to do as a manager, allow you to play in different ways.”