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Steven Gerrard: Plenty of tough decisions to make at Aston Villa

Boss Steven Gerrard admits he has plenty of tough decisions to make as his Villa players stake a claim for the Premier League starting XI.

SPORT COPYRIGHT TIM STURGESS EXPRESS AND STAR...... 09/07/2022..... Walsall v Aston Villa pre season friendly. Pictured,  Villa manager Steven Gerrard  meets the fans..
SPORT COPYRIGHT TIM STURGESS EXPRESS AND STAR...... 09/07/2022..... Walsall v Aston Villa pre season friendly. Pictured, Villa manager Steven Gerrard meets the fans..

The former Liverpool midfielder has had four games to run the rule over his side before one more friendly today, as Villa face French side Stade Rennais.

Although Gerrard says certain players have already put themselves in line to start against Bournemouth on the opening weekend, he believes the quality of Villa’s squad means he will face tough selection dilemmas.

“As a manager, you always want tough decisions. If you’ve got tough decisions it means that all the players are pushing. It means you’ve got more than one good player in that position, which is always helpful,” he said.

“Pre-season is about fitness, it’s about getting yourself match-sharp and match-ready, so we gave opportunities and game time at the front half of pre-season to everyone.

“People have benefitted from that and given me some tough decisions to make.

“Now that we’re days out and we’re moving really close to the start, there are certain individuals that are standing forward and grabbing the shirt.”

The new season is fast approaching and Villa have begun increasing the intensity to ensure their players are ready.

Gerrard said: “In the early weeks in pre-season, it’s about getting through those days and getting your body tuned into the physical demands of the daily routine. As the games and the weeks go by, it’s important that you start turning the dial and getting yourself ready for the big kick-off. The players need to be using the next seven or eight days to really push themselves as hard as they can and tidy up where they’re at.

“If there are a few little gaps, whether it be physical, whether it be technical, it’s important they use this time now to make sure they’re bang on when we go to Bournemouth.

“We’ve got a really exciting friendly away at Rennais; it’ll be a decent atmosphere there and a real game.

“It’s one that we need to use really well and come out on the right side because that’s the feeling, confidence and belief that you take into the final week in the building. I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”

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