Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard was thrilled by the performances of Philippe Coutinho and Jacob Ramsey in Wednesday’s draw with Leeds United, convinced the latter will be an England international before long.
Villa played out a gripping 3-3 draw with Leeds at Villa Park, the visitors fighting back despite finding themselves 3-1 down at half-time.
Coutinho and Ramsey were crucial to Villa’s lead – the Brazilian cancelled out Daniel James’ early opener with a well-placed finish before setting up each of Ramsey’s goals, both of which were well-weighted throughballs for the surging youngster.
It was the first time Coutinho has had a hand in at least three goals in a single game since August 2020, when he helped Bayern Munich to their remarkable 8-2 demolition of his parent club Barcelona in the Champions League – you have to go back to December 2019 for the last such instance that occurred in a league match.
Coutinho’s struggles since leaving Liverpool have been well-documented, with the talented attacking midfielder struggling to find his niche at Barca and Bayern, but Gerrard is enjoying watching his old team-mate again.
He said: “Looking at Philippe’s performance tonight, not just his goal and assists, if you don’t love watching that you shouldn’t be watching football.
“That was absolutely beautiful, some of the stuff he has done.
“It was vintage Philippe Coutinho tonight. He’s certainly getting back close to where he was when the whole world was speaking about him.
“He’s still got improvements to do from a physical point of view but in terms of his technical ability, you don’t play for Brazil that many times or become a global superstar without that talent.
“He will get better and better. He is a joy to work with.”
Ramsey, 20, is still waiting for recognition at international level with England, though Gerrard – who represented the Three Lions 114 times – is adamant the gifted midfielder is on the cusp of a call-up.
Gerrard did not want any comparisons made between himself and Ramsey, though he reckons the Villa academy product “is right up there” in terms of the standard of players he featured alongside.
“Listen he’s not following in anyone’s footsteps, Jacob Ramsey is Jacob Ramsey,” Gerrard continued.
“He’s going to be a terrific player and it won’t be too long before the whole country are watching him, I’m sure, because he’s in a top place.
“I know the level of the England players, I’ve been around it, and have enough experience to know it’s only a matter of time but let’s all be sensible and keep calm about it.
“I want him to make his own headlines with his football. He is a top talent, I’m loving every moment of working with him. He is getting stronger with each game because we’re giving him the platform to express himself. He is in a wonderful place.”
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