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Highlights on Off The Ball


Steven Gerrard is having a huge impact on Aston Villa | Damien Delaney

Steven Gerrard is getting the most out of Aston Villa's players and there's good reason to think it will continue.

Steven Gerrard's impact on Aston Villa is undeniably positive so far, according to Damien Delaney.

The former Ireland and Crystal Palace defender joined The Football Show on Tuesday night.

Steven Gerrard hasn't been in charge of Aston Villa for very long. But the Premier League club is enjoying a good run of form, despite losing last weekend to Liverpool. Gerrard beat Brighton 2-0 in his first game in charge. Since then, Villa won two games and lost two games. Both losses were impressive performances against Liverpool and Manchester City.

Beating Leicester meant Gerrard won the battle of former Scottish league managers with Brandon Rodgers.

It's not just the results that are impressing Delaney. The results would inevitably take an upswing because Villa were underperforming with a lot of talent in their team. Delaney instead points to the specific coaching details that are elevating those performancs. He attributes them to Gerrard.

"Seriously energetic, seriously fit," Delaney said.

"Work rate is through the roof on and off the ball. There's a confidence to them and you can see the way they're setting up. Three narrow in midfield. Obviously, when your fullbacks join in it's McGinn and the other player's job to get back out. But then what they do very cleverly is they drop the likes of Ollie Watkins or Ashley Young back in to make up the numbers in midfield.

"Then they break out to engage the opposition fullback. If the ball gets popped back inside, Douglas Luiz can get a little isolated but they're really good at getting back. And that takes a serious amount of hard work and a serious amount of dedication."

It's possible that this is just a bump from Gerrard taking over for Dean Smith. But the long-term structure is in place for them to sustain performances.

"When he first got the job at Villa I watched Steven Gerrard's team taking shape and you kind of wonder is this the new manager bounce. Is this just Gerrard coming in with his persona, with his reputation? And the players are standing to attention and running more than they had done. Ordinarily that does happen.

"But after a while those players go back to being what they are.

"Their performance against Liverpool at the weekend was brilliant. They put up a real good fight. On another day they could have got something out of the game."

One player, in particular, has stood out to Delaney since Gerrard took over: England international Tyrone Mings.

"Tyrone Mings is a man transformed. A lot of their players are playing with an awful lot more confidence as well. The system that he's playing is really suiting them."

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Aston Villa Damien Delaney Liverpool Steven Gerrard