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Gerard Houllier is great for Aston Villa, says Steven Gerrard

10 Sep 2010 01:48:06

Gerard Houllier is great for Aston Villa, says Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard has backed Gerard Houllier to bring success to Aston Villa. Houllier has finally been confirmed as Martin O'Neill's successor after quitting as technical director of the French Football Federation. He will be formally unveiled at a press conference on Friday afternoon before taking charge for the first time in Monday's league encounter at Stoke. Old pals: Steven Gerrard and Gerard Houllier back in 2004 Houllier gave Gerrard his debut at Liverpool more than a decade ago and the England skipper has nothing but praise for the Frenchman who spent six years on Merseyside. He said: 'I've still got quite a close relationship with Gerard. He gave me my chance at the top level and I certainly learnt an awful lot from him. 'Aston Villa have got themselves a very good manager and I am not surprised Gerard has come back into the Premier League. Rise to the top: Gerrard has climbed to become England captain 'I know how much he loves football. He has been desperate to get back involved in the Premier League so it is no surprise to me. 'It has been no surprise to me that Villa have been interested in him because he is a top manager. 'We had a magnificent year in 2001. He came in and had to change an awful lot of things at Liverpool and that is what he is good at. 'When he comes in, he knows what he wants, and he knows how to get a winning team. That showed by the five trophies we won under him.' Houllier suffered with health problems during the latter part of his time with the Reds which led to his assistant, Phil Thompson, having a spell in charge of the team. But Gerrard insisted: 'I don't think health is a problem for Gerard. I saw him a few days ago at the Jamie Carragher testimonial at Anfield and he looked superb. 'He looked really healthy and fresh. I asked him then if he was interested in Aston Villa and he said he was. I really don't think the health will be a problem. I think he will be fine.' Houllier is hoping to appoint one of his former Liverpool backroom staff - Patrice Bergues - at Villa Park. Return: Houllier enjoyed reasonable success with Liverpool before joining Lyon Bergues also worked alongside Houllier at Lens and Lyon at club level as well as with the French Football Federation in the late 1990s. Houllier had wanted to bring in Phil Thompson, his number two at Anfield as assistant-manager, but he has opted to remain in his role as a pundit with Sky Sports. But before then he will meet the players - including skipper Stiliyan Petrov, Luke Young and James Collins who all backed caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald to become new manager. MacDonald's role under the new regime has still to be confirmed by Villa.  Thompson: Why I turned down the chance to join Houllier at Aston VillaNeil Moxley: Villa fans must back club even if they can't get behind HoullierHoullier named Aston Villa manager after agreeing a three-year dealASTON VILLA FC


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