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Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard believes that Philippe Coutinho can go up another level after the Brazilian signed a four-year contract. Coutinho had signed on loan from Barcelona in January with Gerrard hoping to persuade him to sign on a permanent basis. He has made 16 appearances for the club this season, scoring four goals while providing three assists.

“I was aware a little bit before it was announced and I think it’s fantastic for everyone connected with the club. You’ve seen the reaction from the supporters, it’s very positive, they’ve seen him over the last five or six months play ever so well,” Steven Gerrard said about Philippe Coutinho. “He’s still got loads left in him, in our opinion. To have him here full time and settled, I think he’ll come again and go up another level because of that feeling of knowing where he’s going to be playing for the next four years. I think he is a player that needs to feel wanted, he needs to feel supported. Everyone at Villa is playing their part… the owners especially have made him feel really special. He feels really happy here and it’s fantastic that he wants to be part of this journey.”

“I think you can’t underestimate football happiness. In any walk of life, in any job, you’ve got to get out of bed with a purpose and with a drive and energy to enjoy your role. In football terms, that is to feel support from your teammates, from your staff but also from your supporters,” he added. “If you get out of bed every morning and you’re playing for an ambitious club where there’s a journey and everyone is pushing to move it forward and improve it, and you’re a big part of that and you’re made to feel welcome and people want to build around you, that’s very important in Phil’s situation.”

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