Digne: Gerrard's style makes me love football

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 2 Jun 2022 15:13 BST
  • 6 min read
Lucas Digne, Aston Villa, 2021/22
© ProShots

Aston Villa and France left-back Lucas Digne has hailed manager Steven Gerrard and the influence the Liverpool legend has had both on the club and on him as a player.

Digne joined the Villans from Everton in January for €30 million and immediately set about proving himself to be a bargain addition, supplying five assists in 16 Premier League outings for his new club.

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Speaking exclusively to FootballTransfers, the 28-year-old underlined the importance that Gerrard, another relatively new face at Villa Park given he took over from Dean Smith in November 2021, had on his decision.

“I came to Villa both for the great project of this club and for the manager,” he explained.

“Steven Gerrard is a legend in world football. And he is a very inspirational and ambitious manager – a very passionate person. It is important to have the ambition not only to win games but to play positive football, modern football, not destructive stone-age football. It is important for the players, and it is important for the fans. I am in love with football, especially when the football is positive.”

Villa's project won me over - Digne

Digne admits that he had other offers on the table during the January transfer window, but says that Aston Villa’s long-term goals impressed him with their ambition.

“The club have been amazing since they came to me with their proposal. They really did present their project very well to me, and I believe in this project,” he said.

“I had other offers in January, but Villa quickly convinced me. I just got the right feeling in my stomach.

“I want to give everything to help Villa back in the top of English football. That is our goal. Villa Park is such a great stadium with passionate fans, and football is all about making the fans happy and proud. Villa is a club with a great history, and we want to write a new chapter in the club’s history book.”

One of the Premier League's best

It is in this framework that Digne, who has also previously turned out for Lille, PSG, Roma and Barcelona, has enjoyed a sparkling return to form, re-joining Liverpool pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson as one of the most dangerous offensive full-backs in the league.

With 1.9 key passes per game, he led Aston Villa in that capacity last season and was second behind Robertson in terms of assists per 90 of left-backs who played at least 15 games. Furthermore, four of his club’s last seven goals came from crosses delivered by him.

Digne posts formidable offensive numbers
© ProShots - Digne posts formidable offensive numbers

“It is definitely one of my trademarks to help the team score goals,” he said. “It has been like that for me in my four years in the Premier League. I enjoy the assists and key passes but I also enjoy the defensive part of football.

“At Villa, the manager wants me to be a part of attack, and that is great. In general - after half a season at Villa Park - it has been good already, and it will be even better in the future - for the team and for myself. I’m coming up to the best age for a football player - and I believe that the next few seasons will be the best in my career.

“We want to play attractive, attacking football, and I love that - but we have also been too inconsistent until now. We will work hard to be more consistent, and I am sure that our manager will know the way to move us in the right direction. We are under construction, and we will improve as a team and as individuals next season.”

Digne on Kamara transfer

Boubacar Kamara
© ProShots - Boubacar Kamara

One of the new additions to the club is Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, a player who is also capable of playing in defence. Digne has admitted that he had a role in the 22-year-old joining the club.

“He phoned and asked me about Villa, and I was happy to be able to tell him a lot of good things about the club - and about the manager. I just said the truth to him: 'If you come, you will enjoy every single minute in Premier League - and you will develop and enjoy yourself with the style of football at Villa, with the way the manager is - and things like that'.”

Digne is heading away on international duty with France for Nations League fixtures against Denmark, Croatia (twice) and Austria. He is aiming to add to his 44 caps.

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