Sanson receives Gerrard backing as Villa wait for delayed influence

After a frustrating start to his time at Aston Villa, Morgan Sanson will be hoping to flourish under Steven Gerrard moving forward.

Since arriving in January, the 27-year-old has made just 10 appearances for Villa, with injury woes setting him back and preventing him from being a regular in the side.

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He will undoubtedly be itching to showcase his quality and prove his worth to Villa after his switch from Marseille, and with a fresh chance under a new manager, Sanson’s time might be coming sooner rather than later.

Speaking to reporters prior to his first game in charge, Gerrard spoke of his delight to have the Frenchman on the bench, and insisted that he’s “going to be a big player for us”.

That will have been music to the ears of Sanson, but it’s important he now shows why Gerrard is excited about the prospect of having him in his midfield, as we arguably desperately need a midfielder with his attributes and characteristics.

Villa midfield still lacking key strengths, Sanson could be solution

It has become apparent in recent months that the Villa midfield is a weak area for us as we’ve been dominated and overrun on several occasions in that department, which in turn has led to problems at both ends of the pitch.

The defence has struggled to keep clean sheets given the level of pressure that they’ve come under with not enough protection in front of them, while our attacking players have been starved of service which has led to issues in our build-up play and ability to break teams down.

As we saw against Brighton at the weekend, Ashley Young’s excellent play to set Ollie Watkins through was initially sparked by an interception from Marvelous Nakamba in our own penalty area, and so it’s about finding that balance, composure, accuracy and tempo in midfield to make us a more effective unit in general.

Albeit we haven’t seen enough of it as of yet, Sanson possesses the necessary abilities to be that solution. The Frenchman showed in an all-too-brief appearance at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup earlier this season that he can be a ball-winning, tempo-setting and possession-dominating midfield player, but it’s about getting him fit, and then keeping him that way.

It will be interesting to see who makes way for him when Gerrard decides to bring him into the starting XI, with Douglas Luiz also pushing to get back into the side to displace the likes of John McGinn, Nakamba and Jacob Ramsey.

Gerrard’s comments last weekend were telling though, as that was a significant indication that he expects a lot from Sanson and believes that he will ultimately play a big role for Villa moving forward.