Steven Gerrard opens up on ‘undroppable’ Aston Villa star in message to club’s youngsters

Klopp details Gerrard chat after Liverpool beat Aston Villa

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Steven Gerrard has opened up on the ‘undroppable’ star he has at his disposal at Aston Villa, as he encouraged the club’s academy players to follow that example. Gerrard has won four of his six games in charge at Villa Park since replacing Dean Smith as manager.

A key part of his team at Villa has been academy graduate Jacob Ramsey, who is enjoying a stellar season.

The 20-year-old broke into the first-team line-up under Smith, but has also impressed Gerrard since the Liverpool legend took over.

Ramsey has started five of Gerrard’s six matches, with the only game he has missed being the defeat to Manchester City.

He capped his strong campaign with a brilliant goal against Norwich in midweek, running past three Canaries defenders before smashing in a left-foot goal in midweek for his second of the season.

And Gerrard has been bowled over by Ramsey’s displays and highlighted his progression as an example to the current crop of Villa academy stars.

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“I have certainly thrown the gauntlet down to all the academy lads that if you are good enough you will get opportunities,” Gerrard said.

“For example, we’ve come in and seen Jacob Ramsey playing at a level where he can’t be outside the 11.

“His training performances and what he is delivering on the pitch is basically saying to me: ‘I want a shirt in this team, I don’t want to be moved and I’m going to show you I deserve that shirt’.

“He is doing that at the moment so he will play. It’s pretty simple. It’s not complicated.”

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Villa travel to Burnley on Saturday, with Gerrard expected to utilise his group of academy players for the Premier League clash.

Gerrard has seen seven members of his first-team squad ruled out through injury and Covid-19, with Villa set to name a youthful-looking bench.

Some of the academy players set to feature helped Villa to beat Liverpool in last season’s FA Youth Cup, with Gerrard relishing the chance to work with them.

“I did actually watch the FA Youth Cup final. I watched the game and I think Villa’s academy has a big reputation of producing talented players,” he said.

“From afar I was aware and really interested to get up close and really watch these players and work with these players to see if the reputation stood up and whether what people said was the truth.

“We have got a lot of academy players around the group at the moment. You will certainly see in the team and squad in terms of a big involvement and representation from the academy.

“When they come with us they get treated like first team players and are expected to perform to a standard that is expected of a first team player.

“It is down to them to adapt and get up to speed of what we expect and demand. If they do and do well consistently, they will be around the group moving forward.”

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