Gerrard Gives Verdict on Dendoncker and Bednarek
By Oscar Webster
Aston Villa were able to tie down two final additions to the squad, to help in what looks to be a tricky few months for the club, before the winter World Cup rears its head. As has become customary for the signings made in the Steven Gerrard era, Belgian international Leander Dendoncker and Polish international centre-back Jan Bednarek, are both experienced at Premier League level.
“I think both players bring vital Premier League experience, international experience,” said, Gerrard, at his pre-match presser, before Manchester City’s visit to Villa Park.
“They’ll bring profile into the team and stature which I think we need. I’m hoping they bring a real positive energy that is needed at the moment.”
Although Villa’s latest recruits may not exactly be names that will set the media alight, the team was certainly in need of more height and presence, after being a soft touch at times. Going off the performances so far this season, a sturdy midfielder and experienced all-action centre-back may just be what Villa need going forward.
Gerrard said he was “delighted” to get both of them in, as it was a tricky week or so to get the deals over the line.
“I think it was a challenge in both situations because they were very much in demand,” reflected Gerrard. “So for them to choose Aston Villa and want to come here and play for us is important.”
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It’s unclear whether the pair will feature at the weekend, with their roles within the squad yet to be revealed. Gerrard did confirm that the club’s new Polish loanee is not just here to sit on the bench as a back-up option.
“Jan has come here to challenge himself. It’s a fresh start for him here. He’s obviously got a World Cup on the horizon, so I know he’ll be very eager to get into the starting XI.”
“We certainly need his aggression, his profile and his defensive capabilities at the moment to come and support the team.”
The gaffer was also quick to sing Dendoncker’s praises, citing the Belgian’s experience in the national team as a massive reason for the move. However, it was revealed that upon his arrival, issues with illness may hold the midfielder back from involvement at the weekend.
“Leander’s very different. He’s playing internationally in one of the best teams in the world. Both players speak for themselves in terms of pedigree and what they’re going to add to the group. He’s got a little bit of a throat issue, so we’ll have to analyse that as the day goes along. I am hoping both players can be part of the squad.”