The loan signing of Philippe Coutinho has further bolstered the head coach’s options up front with a host of players now fighting for three forward positions in the first XI. And Gerrard insists that is just the way he wants it.
Gerrard explained: “Everyone is fighting for game time and competing for a shirt.
“That is healthy and there are different challenges, different teams and different formations.
“It is horses for courses for me. As a manager you want cover, you want quality and you don’t want the level to drop whoever you decide to pick. I’ll make those decisions.
“If they are tough decisions I won’t be afraid of making them.”
Villa have spent big on Ollie Watkins, Emi Buendia, Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore in the last 18 months, while veteran Ashley Young and teenage star Carney Chukwuemeka are also options in the attacking third.
Bailey is due to return to training in the next few weeks, while Traore will shortly return from the Africa Cup of Nations. Another winger currently away at the tournament, Egypt international Trezeguet, could be allowed to depart on loan before the end of the month.
Gerrard said: “We have got really good options in the No.10 positions once everyone is fit and available.
“We have Traore, Bailey, Coutinho and Buendia. Ings and Watkins are capable of coming short.
“Obviously we have Trezeguet as well coming back from the AFCON when he builds up his fitness. They are the options and attacking quality you need if you want to move up the table.”