Aston Villa And Gerrard Have Helped Coutinho Fall In Love With Football Again

The Brazilian has been directly involved in seven goals (four goals and three assists) since making his debut for the club
08:55, 13 Mar 2022

They always say in football to never fall in love with a loan player. Well sometimes it can’t be helped and that is most certainly the case with Aston Villa fans and Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian wizard has picked up exactly where he left off in the Premier League since his January switch from Barcelona.

Villa boss Steven Gerrard worked his magic and his personal relationship with the midfield maestro to bring him to Villa Park and the player has hit the ground running. After getting onto the scoresheet against Leeds United at Elland Road on Thursday night, Coutinho has been directly involved in seven goals (four goals and three assists) since making his debut for the club and in that time only Harry Kane has been involved in more with eight.  

This just highlights how much of an impact the former Liverpool star has had since returning to England and he has left us thinking what might have been if he did not move to Barcelona four years ago. For all the stagnation his career suffered for the most part of his time away from the Premier League, the Villa faithful will have no complaints as it has led to this dream scenario. 

We knew from his time on Merseyside just how special a talent he was with his ability to control games as well as delivering magical moments, whether they be goals or assists, and now it is the West Midlands outfit who are reaping the rewards of his gifted right foot.

Coutinho returned to England with a point to prove, and so far that point has been proven and he has seamlessly slotted into Gerrard’s side as he did alongside the Liverpool legend at Anfield nine years ago. For all the credit that is due to the 29-year-old’s incredible talent, his manager must too receive some of the credit for his dazzling displays. 

The two have known each other for a long time and during their time at Liverpool they built a strong rapport that went further than just teammates. Coutinho was able to get an inside look into Gerrard’s future after playing and saw the potential as a coach and manager and of course as a leader.

So when his old ally put forward to him his plans for Villa, Coutinho said yes instantly because he knew that Gerrard would not only help him return to his best, but fall in love with football again and be adored by fans once again. In a turbulent season that promised so much more at the beginning of the season, the second half of the campaign has been memorable for the Villa faithful and that is down to the starring role the Brazilian has played in the team. 

“Phil [Coutinho] is in a top place and he’ll get all the credit again because he’s in magical form and people enjoy watching him,” Gerrard told BBC Sport after the Leeds victory.

“The players are loving working with him and playing with him. We’re enjoying coaching him. He’s in a superb place.”

The fans have fallen in love with them and he seems happy at his new home and the question on everyone’s mind will be ‘when is he joining permanently?’ While a €40million fee is rumoured to be Villa’s buy option for Coutinho at the end of the season, Gerrard seemingly put that to rest when asked about the talisman’s future at the club.

Speaking to Amazon Prime, he said: “I think you know what my decision would be [about signing Coutinho permanently].

“I think you all know what I think of him but this is not as straightforward as people think.

“There is obviously an option in place, Barcelona still own the player. Phil has obviously got to want to be here in terms of the big picture but he is enjoying his football and looks happy and settled. 

“I know the owners are very ambitious, so we will just analyse it as we go along. But if it was totally on me and it was my cash you know what I would do.”

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