Gerrard praises Rodgers ahead of Midlands derby

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has revealed his respect for Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers ahead of Sunday’s Midlands derby between the two clubs in the Premier League.

It can be recalled that Gerrard played under Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool between 2012 and 2015 and almost won the Premier League title under the Northern Irish manager in 2014 before they surrendered a five-point gap at the top of the table with just three games left.

They faced each other as managers in Scotland in their time as managers at Old Firm clubs. Rodgers won consecutive titles with Celtic. They faced off twice in Scotland and recorded 1 nil wins against each other before Rodgers left for Leicester.

Meanwhile, Gerrard led Rangers to their first Scottish Premier League title in a decade last season as his side prevented Celtic from landing a historic 10 league titles in a row. According to the former Liverpool captain, he learned a lot from Rodgers over the years.

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“Brendan is a top coach,” said Gerrard. “He came in at Liverpool at a time when we needed someone like him in terms of a modern coach who was going to take us forward but also play some attractive football.

“I think the biggest thing was his delivery on the training pitch. You could see quite clearly that he had got a lot of experience and he was a good manager to play for in terms of a personal relationship.

“It would have been very naive from my point of view not to try and learn as much as I can and what I could from Brendan, and I continued to do it even when we never worked together because obviously I came up against him in Scotland and I have seen how well he has done in the Premier League, which is certainly no surprise to me.

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“He is one of many managers who I watch closely and, in my position, when you are new and starting out and trying to gain that experience then they are the type of people you try to learn from.

“There is a mutual respect there. He always helped me as a player and I’ll always remember that, but once the whistle goes, we’ll be ready to compete for the points.”