Steven Gerrard pays emotional tribute to the late Gerard Houllier during his first Aston Villa press conference

Houllier managed Gerrard at Liverpool and also had a spell at Villa Park between 2010-2011

Steven Gerrard’s first press conference as manager of Aston Villa Football Club was a special one.

His energy and enthusiasm for the role shone throughout.

It was easy to understand why Johan Lange and Christian Purslow, who were sat either side of him on the day, were so easily sold during the former midfielder’s interview. An interview that lasted five hours, Purslow admitted.

Steven Gerrard press conferencee

Success and desire to win is in his blood, it’s been with him throughout his entire career as a player and it’s something that he has now brought with him into management.

But he wasn’t born with all of the positive traits that he holds today - a lot of them were learned throughout his career. Taught by teammates, coaches and most of all, his managers.

And one manager that he has always spoke fondly of is the late Gerard Houllier, the man he played under for six years and the man that gave him his debut for his boyhood club.

The former Liverpool and England captain was asked during his unveiling about that man in particular and you could see the emotion flood his face almost instantly.

The tribute he gave next, needs no added words.

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates with manager Gerard Houllier after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Cup third round first leg match between Liverpool and Levski Sofia at Anfield

“I’m sure he’s looking down and he’s very proud,” Gerrard said.

“He’s someone who I had a really close, strong bond and relationship with. I’ll be forever in debt for what he did for me not only as a footballer but as a human too.

“He went out of his way to really change me as a person both on and off the pitch. He helped me a lot as a player tactically, technically.

“He really improved my game intelligence and the understanding of what it takes to be a professional and be consistent at the top level for a long period of time.

“But also going out of the way to meet my parents to see what I was doing away from the game. What I was eating, where I was spending my time. He really did give me a lot.

“He put his arm around me at the right times, he shouted at me at the right times. We had a bond and a relationship that was very strong and when we lost him it was a real sad day and a real emotional day.

“I used to lean on him for advice a lot and I remember the words he used to say to me all the time was ‘go and be the best version of yourself and you won’t go far wrong’ so I’m sure he’ll be looking down today very proud.”