Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Crystal Palace's Patrick Vieira looked back on his time playing against Steven Gerrard in midfield as he faces him in the dugout for the first time against Aston Villa on Saturday (November 27th).
Gerrard’s path into management is similar to that of Vieira’s, as he explains: “Obviously finishing his career, doing his badges, going into the Under-23s, that is the path that I also had.
“I followed him at Rangers. I saw him when we played a tournament in Lyon when he was at Rangers and I was at Nice. It was nice to see him and catch up a little, talking about our journey. So it will be nice to see him tomorrow.”
Vieira attributes progression into management to the “love and passion of the game."
“At the same time it’s the kind of adrenaline that we love. It's part of who we are. Overall I believe it’s part of the game to work with players around us and share our experience.
“We enjoyed it and I think all the players who were at that level went into coaching because of the love and passion of the game."
Finally, with comparisons drawn between the two and Roy Keane in their playing days, Vieira was full of praise for Gerrard and his counterparts.
“We really enjoyed playing against each other. Every single game we played against Liverpool was tough, challenging, because of Steven Gerrard. He was a real leader and captain in this team. He was one of the best players in that position. He was part of those players who changed the role of the holding midfielder.
“I think that he [and Roy Keane] they’re both quite similar in the way that they are quite competitive. Both players, including [Paul] Scholes in that bracket as well, are who I believe were some of the best players, holding midfielders in Europe.”