David James Exclusive: Villa Should Sign Coutinho
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David James Exclusive: Villa Should Sign Coutinho

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper David James has encouraged his old club to sign Philippe Coutinho, despite concerns over the Brazilian’s fitness record. The 29-year-old arrived on loan at Villa Park from Barcelona in January and has impressed, scoring four goals and notching a further three assists in 12 Premier League appearances. He has not missed any games through injury in that time – but spent seven months on the sidelines while at the Camp Nou, due to a knee injury sustained in December 2020. However, James remains wary of issues with the attacking midfielder’s fitness levels, suggesting Coutinho’s performances begin to dip in the latter stages of games. Despite that, the ex-England star thinks Coutinho’s quality makes him a risk worth taking.


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Injury Record A Worry

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: "Aston Villa should sign Philippe Coutinho but his injury record is a worry.

"I do think he should sign permanently but I'm always wary of players staying on loan.

"Judging by what I've seen, fitness could be an issue. From what I've seen he's played fantastically for an hour and then fitness seems to be an issue.

"It's whether or not Coutinho can be kept fully fit and if you do, Steven Gerrard will have a side challenging for European places."

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European Football Realistic Next Season

James also suggested that expectations may have been raised too high this term, after Gerrard arrived to replace Dean Smith – but feels a bid for European qualification is not an unrealistic goal for next season.

"People assumed Villa would automatically get into European places after Steven Gerrard's strong start," he explained.

"Aston Villa and Steven Gerrard were the perfect match of ambition.

"The interesting thing is because he had a very good beginning, people assumed he could continue it for the rest of the season and that they'd finish in the top six.

"He's got them out of the relegation issue and with the season drawing to an end, he will have proper time to solve the issues within the team.

"This season was more about solidifying the team and getting his information across, and looking for next season as a springboard and assault on Europe.

"It's a perfect marriage between Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa."

 

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