Steven Gerrard believes tougher umpires have clipped the wings of ‘warriors’ in midfield

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard believes tougher umpires have clipped the wings of midfield ‘warriors’ like himself, Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane

  • Steven Gerrard says his ferocious duels with Patrick Vieira may not be allowed
  • He believes tougher umpires have clipped the wings of ‘warriors’ in midfield
  • The pair used to fight back when they captained Liverpool and Arsenal



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Steven Gerrard believes his brutal duels with Patrick Vieira may not be allowed in Saturday’s match as tougher umpires have clipped the wings of ‘warriors’ in midfield.

The new Aston Villa boss takes his team to Vieira’s Crystal Palace in Selhurst Park on Saturday, reminiscing about the pair’s battles when they captained Liverpool and Arsenal respectively.

Gerrard rates Saturday’s best midfielders as highly as his own generation, notably Manchester City pair Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne, Liverpool’s Fabinho and Palace’s Conor Gallagher. Still, he admits that the ultra-physical style of players like himself, Vieira and Roy Keane runs the risk of getting into trouble with stricter official standards.

Steven Gerrard thinks his duels with Patrick Vieira may not be allowed in Saturday's match

Steven Gerrard thinks his duels with Patrick Vieira may not be allowed in Saturday’s match

“The game has evolved in such a way that you may not be able to be as aggressive or get away with what you could 10 or 15 years ago when we played,” said Gerrard, who helped Villa beat Brighton 2-0 in his first game of the season. pipe. “I’m not sure you can get away with being that tough, real warrior-type midfielder right now, especially with the VAR and the way arbitration has changed over the last 10 or 15 years.

“That was my style while I was also trying to play, but it’s not about me. It’s about today’s Premier League, which is dotted with top midfielders.

The pair used to compete when they captained Liverpool and Arsenal respectively

The pair used to compete when they captained Liverpool and Arsenal respectively

The pair used to compete when they captained Liverpool and Arsenal respectively

“The players I competed against (Keane, Vieira, Frank Lampard) were all really driven players with the highest standards, consistency and they were all different challenges in different ways.

“But when I look at matches now, there are a lot of high-level midfielders. Some like to be in sixth place and dominate games like Fabinho and Rodri and we have players at Aston Villa who can do that.

“Then you have midfielders who like to run into the box, such as Conor Gallagher who is a top player and Kevin De Bruyne. I could praise a lot of midfield talent in the competition.’

At club and international level, Gerrard and Vieira crossed swords 15 times, with Gerrard leading seven times and Vieira five times with four draws.

Gerrard admits the ultra-physical style of players like himself, Vieira and Roy Keane runs the risk of running afoul of stricter official standards

Gerrard admits the ultra-physical style of players like himself, Vieira and Roy Keane runs the risk of running afoul of stricter official standards

Gerrard admits the ultra-physical style of players like himself, Vieira and Roy Keane runs the risk of running afoul of stricter official standards

Perhaps the pair’s most famous battle was in the 2001 FA Cup final, when Vieira delivered an outstanding performance, but Gerrard’s Liverpool still took the trophy with a 2-1 win.

“He was one of the toughest battles I’ve ever seen as a player,” Gerrard said. “He absolutely terrorized Liverpool in the 2001 FA Cup final. I had the unfortunate task of flagging him, and he was far too good for me on the day – but we managed to turn the game around and go 2- 1, so that definitely ended on a high.

“I have a lot of respect for him as a player and coach. I admire the fact that when he ended his career he went straight back to the beginning to learn and evolve.”

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