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Aston Villa boss Gerrard: Coutinho a serial winner - and a friend of mine

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard is excited by their signing of Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

The pair formed a great relationship during two years playing together at Liverpool, where Gerrard saw the 29-year-old's qualities firsthand.

Ahead of confirmation of the move this morning, the Villa head coach was asked about Coutinho at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, and his admiration for the player was clear.

He said: “Sixty three caps for Brazil, a serial winner, played for Barcelona, was incredible at Liverpool.

“I can understand why a lot of supporters up and down the country are speaking about him. I don't think you get a nickname as a Magician if you're not a special footballer.

“He's someone I've got an incredible amount of respect for."

Coutinho has a glittering CV that boasts domestic trophies in four countries, a Champions League winners medal and a Copa America title for Brazil.

The playmaker racked up 152 Premier League games during his time at Liverpool, scoring 41 goals and recording 35 assists, and Gerrard says his record speaks for itself.

“He won two league titles for Barcelona, he won two Copa del Reys. If you go and have a look at his Wiki page, you'll see a serial winner wherever he's been," he said.

“I've got nothing but positive things to say about the player. He's a friend of mine."

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Paul Vegas

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