Philippe Coutinho breaks silence on Aston Villa transfer and role Steven Gerrard played

Coutinho is back in the Premier League with Aston Villa after four years away
(Image: (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images))

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Coutinho will don the vacant No.23 shirt in the Midlands, previously worn by the likes of Jota Peleteiro, Jordan Amavi and Aly Cissokho.

Speaking for the first time to the Villa Park faithful via the Aston Villa club website, Coutinho revealed: "It’s a pleasure to be here, it’s a great club.

"I spoke a lot with Stevie and he told me about the club, the ambitions of the club and his ambitions.

"Of course, I’m very happy to be here and to enjoy the football here."

Coutinho went on to address his previous playing relationship with Gerrard.

"I know Stevie for a long time. I played with him, I learned a lot with him and he’s a guy who I have big admiration for," he added.

"I hope to do my best here and for sure I have hard work and I know many of the people on his staff. I hope together we can do good work."

The Brazilian was pressed on how Gerrard persuaded him to come to Villa when the midfielder had a number of top clubs interested.

"He told me about the club, the ambitions of the club and that they want to achieve good things, his ambitions also and his plans," Coutinho explained.

Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho spent two years together at Anfield as teammates

"When I spoke with him, after the meeting, it was clear for me that I wanted to be here and I think it was quickly. I’m happy to be here.

"I’m looking forward to meeting the fans, to being on the pitch. I know and I feel that they’re happy that I’m here."

Coutinho has spent much of his time at Barcelona on the bench and out of the team having been deemed surplus to requirements and has explained how he is simply chomping at the bit to return to action.

"I want to repay that on the pitch and enjoy my football. I’m looking forward to being on the pitch.

"I always want to be at my best, doing my work. That’s what I work hard for every day.

"I hope it will be a great rest of the season here."

Coutinho is expected to feature in some capacity against former rivals Manchester United when his new side welcome the Red Devils to Villa Park on Saturday evening.