Three of Steven Gerrard’s most intriguing comments in first Aston Villa press conference

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After returning to the Premier League last week, Steven Gerrard is set to take charge of Aston Villa for the first time this weekend when they host Brighton at Villa Park.

The Liverpool icon was appointed as Dean Smith’s successor last week and gave his first press conference on Thursday since he was prised away from his previous role at Rangers.

And whilst opening up on his move from Scotland, Gerrard found the time to pay tribute to his former Liverpool boss, Gerard Houllier; crediting the Frenchman for the huge impact he had on his life.

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Houllier sadly passed away last year at the age of 73.

“I’m sure he’s looking down very proud, I’ll be forever in debt of what he did for me,” said Gerrard.

“He really changed me as a person, he helped me a lot as a player and really improved my game intelligence and what it takes to stay at the top level. He went out of his way to talk to my parents, to see what I was eating and how I was getting on. I used to lean on him for advice. And his advice to me was always ‘go and be the best version of yourself and you won’t go too far wrong’.”

As well as discussing his first Liverpool manager, talk inevitably turned to the last boss Gerrard had during his storied career at Anfield.

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And although he continued to downplay any talk of him using Villa as a stepping stone to replace Jurgen Klopp in the future, Gerrard did open up on his relationship with the German; revealing that Klopp has been in touch since he took the job at Villa Park.

“I bump into him regularly when he walks his dogs, we live in a similar area,” Gerrard added. “He’s a great man and coach. Liverpool are very lucky to have him at the helm, so long may that continue. He sent me a message and he said he’s looking forward to a big hug on the side on December 11th, so that’s something to look forward to.”

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In addition to that, it was intriguingly revealed that, just like at Tottenham, ketchup was off the menu following Gerrard’s arrival.

Antonio Conte made headlines following his appointment at Spurs last week by banning the popular condiment.

And although he claims it was banned prior to his arrival, it seems as though Gerrard is set to follow Conte’s lead and leave the ban in place – as he threw the gauntlet down to his new squad to show “the right mentality”.

“It was banned before I had seen it!” said the former Rangers chief.

“The players have to have the right mentality. Go above and beyond. They need to strive to be elite.”

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