Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is 'already showing he's not afraid' to make big decisions

According to journalist Pete O’Rourke, Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has ‘already shown’ that he won’t be afraid to ring the changes during his tenure.

The 41-year-old tactician replaced former boss Dean Smith in the Villa Park dugout back in November but has had a mixed start to his spell in charge.

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Villa made a strong start to life under Gerrard, winning four of their first six Premier League games following his arrival from reigning Scottish champions Rangers.

However, the Midlands outfit’s form has taken a dramatic turn for the worse in recent weeks, resulting in them dropping down to 12th position in the top-flight standings.

Just one win in their last eight fixtures in all competitions has seen the pressure begin to mount on Gerrard, especially after a 1-0 loss to relegation-threatened Watford last time out.

But the young tactician has already shown his ruthless streak in his short time at the club, axing first-choice left-back Matt Targett and bringing in Lucas Digne.

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And Gerrard showed he was unafraid to make bold decisions once again over the weekend when he dropped Ollie Watkins to the bench in favour of summer signing Danny Ings.

It was a decision that ultimately didn’t pay off for Villa as they slumped to a second consecutive 1-0 defeat, yet it showed Gerrard’s no-nonsense approach in a different way.

What has O’Rourke said about Gerrard?

Watkins scored three goals and provided one assist in his first six league games under Gerrard but has struggled to find the back of the net in recent weeks.

The 26-year-old went five Premier League games without registering a single goal contribution before he was dropped to the bench against Watford, and O’Rourke believes the frequent alterations are designed to ‘keep the players on their toes’.

He told GiveMeSport: “I think it’s just Gerrard trying to keep the players on their toes, and he won’t be afraid to make a few changes, as he’s already shown.”

Will Ings or Watkins start against Brighton?

Ings only joined Villa back in August from Southampton via a £25 million deal, yet he’s struggled to make a significant impact at his new side.

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The three-cap England international has registered just six goal contributions in his 19 appearances, with only one of those coming during Gerrard’s reign.

Only time will tell who Gerrard decides to feature from the off against Brighton, but it seems as though the race to become Villa’s No.1 striker is very much on.

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