Philippe Coutinho is available for Aston Villa to play Manchester United on Saturday Night Football, but Steven Gerrard won’t rush his new signing, admitting he is not match fit.
Gerrard also says Lucas Digne is available for the clash, live on Sky Sports, after he became Villa’s second signing of the window in a £25m move from Everton.
“They’re available. Philippe’s trained for three days now with no issues. We obviously have to build his match sharpness and match fitness up.
“Lucas is slightly different. He’s been involved in group training for quite some time and he’s been available for Everton before he arrived.
“They’re both available selection with the group and they’re both in a good place but, obviously, decisions will come off the back of information we’ve had of both players over the last couple of days.”
More to follow
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Buendia: Coutinho and I can play together
Aston Villa creator Emi Buendia has hit form in recent weeks but now faces direct competition from loan signing Philippe Coutinho… or does he?
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, the Argentine discusses how the pair could play together, life under Steven Gerrard, his current form and his dream of playing alongside Lionel Messi at the World Cup.
Analysis: Coutinho could fill Grealish void
Jack Grealish once commented Philippe Coutinho was one of his favourite players to watch on YouTube. “He always has that one, you know, where he goes left and drops like a little shimmy, which is what I like doing myself.” Now the journey has come full circle.
While Grealish perfected his art enough to earn a £100m move to Manchester City, Coutinho returns to the Premier League to replace him at Aston Villa. If the Brazilian can repeat the form that took him from Liverpool to Barcelona it will be an ideal signing.
There are similarities between the two players. Grealish praised Coutinho’s ability to “go past players like they aren’t there” and that is what Villa so loved about their former captain. They have missed having that player who can make things happen this season.
Is the Coutinho idolised by Grealish still there? At 29, there is time to recapture his best form under old team-mate Steven Gerrard, but his career has drifted at Barcelona. If, like Grealish, Coutinho is inspired by being the main man at Villa Park, there is fun to be had.
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