Coach Steven Gerrard confirms the availability of Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne for the Aston Villa vs Manchester United clash

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The manager of Aston Villa, Steven Gerrard has confirmed that the club’s new signings Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne would be available for the Premier League game against Manchester United. But no guarantee that Coutinho would feature in the game.

The Premier League game is scheduled to kick off at 18:30 later today, January 15, 2022, at Villa Park.

Recall that earlier in the January transfer window, Aston Villa signed Philippe Coutinho on loan from FC Barcelona. The 29-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder decided to switch to the Premier League side because he could not play regularly at Barca.

Coutinho has been at FC Barcelona since January 8, 2018, after the Spanish club spent €135 million to bring him from Liverpool to Spain. His lack of consistency had forced the club to send him on loan to Bayern Munich in 2019 and then Aston Villa on January 7, 2022.

Coach Steven Gerrard confirms the availability of  Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne for the Aston Villa vs Manchester United clash
Philippe Coutinho in Aston Villa colors.

Before he agreed to leave Barcelona for Aston Villa this season, the Brazilian attacking midfielder has managed to play just 16 games in all competitions for Barca in which he scored two goals. In most of his appearances for Barca this season, the former Liverpool talisman played from the bench.

On the other hand, coach Steven Gerrard decided to bring in Lucas Digne from Everton on January 13, 2022. Aston Villa paid €30 million to complete the signing of the 28-year-old French left-back.

Digne was not also playing regularly at Everton which was the factor that made him leave the club for Aston Villa.

Lucas Digne in Aston Villa colors.

Before he joined coach Steven Gerrard at Villa Park this season, Digne has managed to 15 times in all competitions for Everton in which he scored a goal.

Ahead of the big clash between Aston Villa and Manchester United, coach Steven Gerrard confirmed that the two players have trained with their new teammates for three days with no issue. Hence, they are fully available for tonight’s clash.

He however noted that the fact that they have been training with the team would give the players an automatic ticket to play in the Premier League clash.

Coach Steven Gerrard of Aston Villa.
Coach Steven Gerrard of Aston Villa.

“They’re available”, coach Steven Gerrard confirmed. “Philippe’s trained for three days now with no issues. We obviously have to build his match sharpness and match fitness up.

“Lucas is slightly different. He’s been involved in group training for quite some time and he’s been available for Everton before he arrived.

“They’re both available for selection with the group and they’re both in a good place but decisions will come off the back of information we’ve had of both players over the last couple of days.”

When coach Steven Gerrard decided to sign Coutinho on loan from FC Barcelona, the argument was that the 29-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder struggled at Barca, hence, he could struggle at Villa.

But Gerrard has insisted that he would not buy into such an argument, noting that Aston Villa are lucky to have Coutinho who has won titles at both FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

“He is a fantastic talent, we are lucky to have him and at the right time he will be unleashed,” the English tactician said. “His name alone inspires people, what he has done in the game inspires people. I do not doubt at all we will see the real Philippe Coutinho in time.

“I don’t buy into this ‘he never had the best time at Barcelona’. This is a kid who has won leagues at Barcelona and won the Champions League at Bayern.

“He is hungry to play. If we can get him feeling good and the confidence back, Phil Coutinho is still inside Phil Coutinho.”

Aston Villa are currently sitting on the 14th spot on the Premier League table with 22 points in 19 games. Hence, Steven Gerrard would hope that the addition of Coutinho and Lucas Digne would help the club to finish stronger in the league.

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