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By ESPN Staff

Gerrard thinks Hou's the man for Villa

Steven Gerrard believes Gerard Houllier can bring glory to Aston Villa after insisting the 63-year-old "knows how to get a winning team.''

Houllier gave Gerrard his debut when he was Liverpool boss more than a decade ago and the England skipper has nothing but praise for the Frenchman.

Houllier, confirmed as Martin O'Neill's successor after quitting as technical director of the French Football Federation, will be formally unveiled at a press conference on Friday. He will take charge of Villa for the first time in Monday's Premier League clash away to Stoke.

Gerrard said: "It has been no surprise to me that Villa have been interested in Gerard Houllier because he is a top manager. He came in at Liverpool and had to change an awful lot of things - 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. Aston Villa have got themselves a very good manager.''

Gerrard is unsurprised to see Houllier back in the Premier League after leaving Liverpool six years ago. He said: "I am not surprised Gerard has come back into the Premier League. I know how much he loves football. He has been desperate to get back involved in the Premier League so it is no surprise to me.''

Houllier suffered with health problems during the latter part of his time with the Reds. But Gerrard insisted: "I don't think the 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 asked him then if he was interested in Aston Villa and he said he was. I really don't think the health will be a problem. I think he will be fine.''

Houllier may appoint one of his former Liverpool backroom staff - Patrice Bergues - at Villa Park. Bergues also worked alongside Houllier at Lens and Lyon at club level as well as with the French Football Federation in the late 1990s.

Houllier had wanted to bring in Phil Thompson, his number two at Anfield as assistant manager, but he has opted to remain in his role as a pundit with Sky Sports. The role of caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald, who applied to become Villa's new manager, has still to be confirmed by the midlands club.


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