Steven Gerrard’s personal touch on signing former team-mate Philippe Coutinho could reap benefits for Brazil and Aston Villa

PERSONAL – that’s why Philippe Coutinho joined Aston Villa on loan.

Even at the end of last week, some people thought that this agreement will not go ahead – that he will stay at Barcelona on his lucrative contract, or that if he does go to England, there will be bigger clubs than Villa hunting him.

Philippe Coutinho's loan spell to Aston Villa could reap many benefits for club and country


Philippe Coutinho’s loan spell to Aston Villa could reap many benefits for club and countryCredit: PA

But personal touch changes the date – in two ways.

The first personal contact came from Brazil national team coach Tite, one of Countinho’s biggest fans. Last November, he called the player into the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina. He didn’t play.

No chance for him to play. That is not the problem. Coutinho is in a period of ups and downs at Barcelona. In terms of appearance, he doesn’t really have the right to be in the team.

But in terms of ability, he has every chance to contribute to the World Cup at the end of the year – if he gets the form and confidence together, and if he can get regular appearances.

And if this doesn’t happen in Barcelona, ​​it will happen somewhere else. That call from Tite is a great example of a personal touch – it’s a way of sending a message encouraging Coutinho to try his best with another club.

But where?


Here, Villa is holding the best cards. There’s the sale of Jack Grealish, who so far at least has not been adequately replaced by Emanuel Buendia.

Here’s a team with a fascinating Coutinho-shaped hole in it. He is almost guaranteed to be on the pitch regularly.

And most importantly, Steve Gerrard’s comforting presence on the touchline. Coutinho and Gerrard were teammates at Liverpool.

Villa’s current boss has seen his new player at his best. Gerrard knows what Coutinho can do – and know what Coutinho needed to make it. And that makes for a lot of love.

It should be remembered that Coutinho arrived at Liverpool for the same fee as Inter effectively abandoned him. The Italian club have a long relationship with Coutinho, signing him from Vasco da Gama in Brazil several years before they were able to take him across the Atlantic.


But after a few years at Milan, Inter got to the point of being frustrated with him when they decided to cut their losses.

He used to blow the trumpet as the new wonderkid of brazil – The Brazilian national team was quick to consider him as early as 2010, when he was just 18 years old. But he didn’t deliver, and they let him go to Liverpool for a song.

This is Inter’s loss and Liverpool’s opportunity. Because the evidence is already there. Coutinho had a successful season on loan – at Espanol, where the manager was Mauricio Pochettino.

It is not surprising that Coutinho suddenly flourished. Pochettino is a brief Baloo for Coutinho’s Mogli. The coach gave the player what an introvert needs most – boundless love and understanding.

Liverpool watched and learned, put an extended arm over Coutinho’s shoulder and reaped the benefits. Gerrard was a senior professional player at the time, and was part of the process.

Now in his new function he has to do something similar – save Coutinho from a Barcelona move that already never be able to work, cure his injuries and create an environment where his players can reach their full potential.

If it all comes together like at Anfield then Villa will benefit, Brazil will benefit – and so will football fans around the world.

Steven Gerrard and Coutinho reunited after starring at Liverpool


Steven Gerrard and Coutinho reunited after starring at LiverpoolCredit: PA Steven Gerrard’s personal touch on signing former team-mate Philippe Coutinho could reap benefits for Brazil and Aston Villa

Fry Electronics Team

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