Mid-Table The Target
Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “First and foremost, he has to get the players on board and get them confident again.
“He needs to solidify the club’s position in the Premier League this season and get them mid-table-ish, then go for it next season.
“Get the players out that he doesn’t fancy, bring in the players that he wants and then see how far he can take them.
“If the owners can see progress, they have the resources to back him – all you need to do is look at Leicester.
“Could he build something that is really competitive? Absolutely.”
Gerrard Can Turn Things Around
Villa currently sit 16th in the table and are winless in their last five, but the American shot-stopper – who made 131 appearances for the club – is backing Gerrard to stop the rot.
“The results will speak for themselves and there may be one or two that will question his age and lack of managerial experience within the Premier League, but any new manager is going to be questioned,” he explained.
“Villa supporters are very educated fans and, depending on their age, some of them would have seen some incredible times.
“As long as the club is seen as going forward and as long as the club is playing good football, the fans will back Stevie to the hilt without any question.
“I’m also sure that some of the fans will be a little disappointed that one of their own, Dean
Smith, isn’t there anymore, but once they see Stevie’s work ethic and what he’s trying to accomplish, they’ll get behind him.
“For Stevie, it is a wonderful club to be involved with.”
Gerrard A Natural Leader
The former US men’s national team goalkeeper shared a dressing room with Gerrard at Liverpool in the late 1990s, and Friedel suggests that the Anfield icon showed signs of leadership even during his early years.
“He was young and training with the first team all of the time,” he said.
“Obviously, I also played against him many times – everybody could see that Gerrard had remarkable talent and that he would go far in the game, even when he was 17.
“There were some exceptional young players that were at the club at the time – (Jamie) Carragher, (Michael) Owen, Gerrard – you could tell that they had exceptional talent.
“He showed strong leadership qualities then, although he was quiet.
“He was very respectful of other players in training, players that had played longer.
“He had no problem being a leader and, when thrown into a leadership role, he had no issue asking questions of senior players – he was very good at that and had no issue with that.
“You could tell at a young age that he had leadership qualities, that’s for sure.”