Steven Gerrard has rejected comparisons between former Aston Villa player Jack Grealish and current star Emi Buendia, by reinforcing the latter’s unique style.
Villa sold Grealish to Manchester City in the summer for a British record £100million fee. Several players came in to replace his attacking output, including Buendia, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey.
Gerrard is benefitting from the rich forward options at his disposal, which could push Villa into the Premier League’s top 10. They sit 11th after 21 matches, having won eight of them.
Buendia has not had a huge impact for the Villans this term, notching just two goals and three assists in 21 appearances so far. But he did net the winning goal as Gerrard’s men beat Everton before the winter break.
It is hoped that the attacking midfielder’s influence will increase as he gets used to his new team.
The 25-year-old will also be buoyed by his international debut last week. He earned his first cap for Argentina as they beat Colombia in World Cup qualifying.
Ahead of Villa’s home clash against Leeds on Wednesday evening, Gerrard was asked about Buendia. He told reporters: “We’ve certainly seen that explosion. We believe he’s had a fantastic month (in January). All the players needed time to adapt to us and the way we want to play.
Steven Gerrard heaps praise on Buendia
“The good thing for Emi is we believe this style, shape and what we’re trying to do is tailormade for him and his own style. We feel it’s a really good match.
“He’s seen that early on and we’ve had real buy-in from him. He’s a tenacious little character and player, he’s got amazing talent and he’s got stronger and stronger with each training session.
“He believes he can only get better, I have that type of belief in him.
“We are not comparing him to Jack Grealish, we’re not looking back, we’re only looking forward to support him and give him an environment and a culture to thrive in. We want to give him a style of play which brings out the best in him.
“It’s about taking the excuses away from, not just him, but all the players. He has thrived in this environment since we came in. Emi deserves to be compared to only himself.”
Gerrard talks latest Villa transfer
Gerrard also spoke about Egyptian winger Trezeguet. The 27-year-old will spend the rest of the season on loan at Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey.
“He’ll go out on loan and play, I think that’s the right thing for him,” Gerrard said.
“He’s been out for seven months with a career-threatening injury, he’s back in a good place so he needs to go and play and then we’ll discuss his situation in the summer.”
Trezeguet suffered a serious knee injury in April last year but is now back in action.
He featured in every game as Egypt reached the AFCON final. But it ended in disappointment for the The Pharaohs as they lost to Senegal on penalties.