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Houllier will be a success at Aston Villa, says Gerrard

Steven Gerrard and Gerard Houllier
Gerrard is grateful to Houllier for giving him his chance at Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has backed ex-Reds boss Gerard Houllier to be a success as Aston Villa's new boss.

Houllier has been confirmed as Martin O'Neill's successor at Villa Park after quitting as technical director of the French Football Federation.

"Aston Villa have got themselves a very good manager," said Gerrard, who made his debut for the Merseysiders under Houllier in 1999.

"He has been desperate to get back involved in the Premier League."

Houllier is expected to be formally introduced to the media as Villa manager at a news conference on Friday and will take charge of the team when they visit Stoke in the Premier League on Monday.

The Frenchman spent six years on Merseyside between 1998 and 2004 and England skipper Gerrard has fond memories of their time together.

"I've still got quite a close relationship with Gerard," added the 30-year-old Reds midfielder. "He gave me my chance at the top level and I certainly learnt an awful lot from him. I know how much he loves football.


"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 Liverpool, 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 really don't think health will be a problem. I think he will be fine."

Houllier will begin his reign at Stoke and his opposite number, Tony Pulis, is expecting the Frenchman to make a quick impression.

"Gerard is experienced in the Premier League with Liverpool where he did a smashing job," stated the Potters boss.

"I think he is walking into a football club which has top players and he has been very fortunate to get a great club.

"It is always tough when a new manager walks in through the door because the players are on their toes and trying to impress the new manager in charge.

"It has happened to us quite a bit, over the years we've had this changeover a few times, but you have to take it on the chin.

"But I'm not really worried about Aston Villa, I'm just concerned about this club. If you look at teams too deeply sometimes you can worry your players to death."

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see also
Houllier named Aston Villa boss
08 Sep 10 |  Aston Villa
O'Neill quits as Aston Villa boss
09 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa

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