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Aston Villa handed exciting Philippe Coutinho prediction as ‘better’ claims made

Former Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton has claimed Steven Gerrard’s squad highly ‘respect’ Philippe Coutinho and has backed the Brazilian to kick-on next season with a pre-season under his belt.

Coutinho, 29, secured a permanent transfer to Villa last week in a deal worth £17.2 million from Barcelona after recording four goals and three assists since arriving on loan in January.

Despite the playmaker going over two months without a goal involvement in claret and blue, former Villa defender Alan Hutton has backed him to only ‘get better’ with his future now decided and a pre-season approaching. Speaking to Football Insider he said: “It’s an incredible signing, to be quite honest with you. It just shows you the ambition of the club moving forward.

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“He’s obviously a talented player. I know from speaking to the players how highly they respect him on and off the pitch. He definitely raises the standards.

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“What’s happened is Villa have had to be patient. It’s 17 appearances, four goals and three assists. That’s after him not playing a lot of football. He’s going to have a little bit of up and down time.

“Him going into a new season, with a pre-season under his belt, knowing he’s going to be a starter, I think he’s only going to get better. I think Steven Gerrard can get the best out of him as well.

“I think it shows how much Coutinho has fallen in love with the club and that he wants to be there. Both sides have given up on certain things to make this happen.”

How would you rate Coutinho’s time at Villa? Have your say in the comments…

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