Christian Purslow reveals ‘single most attractive feature’ that led Aston Villa to Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard was unveiled to the media for the first time as Head Coach of Aston Villa Football Club

Steven Gerrard had his first sit down with the media today following his appointment as the new manager of Aston Villa Football Club.

Either side of him were two of the men that were behind his appointment, Johan Lange & Christian Purslow.

Sign up to our BirminghamWorld Today newsletter

It was clear to see throughout the press conference why Gerrard impressed so well at interview. He spoke with passion, drive and had a clear vision and answer to anything that was thrown his way by the media.

But Purslow revealed one specific thing that the former England midfielder had, that really ticked all the boxes in terms of what they are after at Villa Park.

“There are two elements to that,” he said.

“I think it was an inspirational idea that when he was transitioning out of playing at Liverpool to coaching that he was given full responsibility of his own team - the U18s.

“The academy and youth football is the central feature of our strategy for this football club.

“What we’ve done in the last two years in taking an academy that was slightly full of cobwebs and hadn’t produced a first team player for some time - to winning the FA Youth Cup within two years is perhaps the most crowning achievement of the last three years.

“So Steven’s familiarity with the process of developing and bringing through great young players was a crucial attraction of his candidacy.

“And the second element has come up in this meeting already. I remember when he took the job at Rangers - people have short memories.

“Nobody, not even the most optimistic Rangers fan would have anticipated what they were able to achieve so quickly. I really have a crystal clear memory of that time.

“Most people who knew him in the game thought it was a crazily risky and dangerous move for a player just getting into management with a great spot at Liverpool.

“To me, that was the single most attractive feature of his candidacy and that shows the person we all know. Backing himself. Absolutely fearless. That’s one of our core values in taking that on.

“The fact he subsequently delivered a title, the fact he subsequently delivered regular success in Europe - they are the gravy. But the personal qualities to take that job on really attracted Nasef [Sawiris], Wes [Edens], myself and Johan.

“And as Johan said earlier, his performance at interview was outstanding. He was the unanimous decision following that interview process.