Roy Keane fires Philippe Coutinho question at Aston Villa after Steven Gerrard comments
The little magician came off the bench to make his debut and grabbed an assist and a goal in the 2-2 draw against Manchester United
Roy Keane says Philippe Coutinho showed "pure quality" for Aston Villa last night but admits the Brazilian magician faces a test over his fitness.
Coutinho made a stunning impact after he came off the bench against Manchester United, grabbing an assist and then scoring as Villa fought back from 2-0 down.
The headline writers reserved all the attention for the on-loan Barcelona magician who will remain at Villa until the end of the season in what was a remarkable coup.
And while Keane says there is no doubt about Coutinho's intelligence as a player, he says he needs to be able to prove he can do it consistently over 90 minutes for the rest of the campaign.
"He’s had his ups and downs and played for some big clubs," he said.
"So, come to Villa it should be okay for him. Obviously listening to Steven Gerrard before the game saying he’s not been training that much because of COVID.
"He’s only been training with a small number for Barcelona so he’s got to get up to speed but he’s certainly capable of producing those moments.
"The big test is can he do it over 90 minutes over the rest of the season. Can he produce these moments? From what you can tell he’s got a lot of footballing intelligence, where to go, the ideas, even the first goal.
"A little give and go. Pure quality."
Gerrard was delighted with Coutinho's contribution after Villa trailed to two goals from Bruno Fernandes until Villa rescued a point.
Gerrard said: "He is good. Listen, you don't lose talent. The thing for Phil is that he needs to be in a place where he feels loved and supported, smiling and enjoying his football.
"Anyone who goes to work who is not enjoying themselves, or are not in a positive place, it's difficult to perform and be at your best.
"He's 29, he's won all kinds of different things and he's still got that hunger to play and to contribute.
"Once he gets fitter and stronger, I have no doubt he'll create and score goals for this team."