'Only going to get better': Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard hails one Chelsea star ahead of Boxing Day clash

Steven Gerrard put his age-old rivalry aside with Chelsea to praise Mason Mount ahead of his encounter with Aston Villa on the weekend.

As quoted by the Express, the Villa boss admitted he was a huge admirer of the England international, but hoped he could have a quiet game on Boxing Day.

Magic Mount

If there is any player in the Blues squad that opponents will be urging to go missing for an afternoon right now, Mount would be top of the list.

Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

He is the club’s joint-top marksmen this season with seven goals across all competitions, including four in his last five Premier League outings.

The 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend was the first time the 22-year-old had failed to score or assist in a top-flight match since late November.

After a dry start to the campaign, marred by a hangover from the European Championships, injury and illness, the midfielder is right back on the money once again.

Gerrard gives the greenlight

Mount will be eyeing up a late Christmas gift when he hopefully travels to Villa Park on Sunday, having missed the reverse fixture back in September.

Gerrard’s plea went in quite the opposite for his fellow countryman, despite showering him with kind words.

“I’ve watched his progress – of course I have. He’s a big talent for the country. I’m a massive fan of Mason,” said the Villa coach.

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

“He plays with a smile on his face. He can create, he can score and he’s already a European Cup winner so I don’t think he needs the likes of myself to big him up or praise him.

“But I must say I’m a fan. I just hope he doesn’t have such a strong performance at the weekend.”

“I think he’s only going to get better the more he plays and the more experience he gets.

“He’s already certainly one of the best players in the country. I have no doubts that he will be in the next squads for a lot of tournaments.”

Three Lions on the shirt

Continue in this vein of form and Mount will be one of the first names on England’s team sheet for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Photo by Catherine Ivill – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Not that he’s close to that status already, but other players have begun challenging for his position.

Former Villa captain Jack Grealish is one, whilst current claret and blue star Jacob Ramsey might be coming for his crown in the future.

Ramsey and Chelsea’s number 19 are set to go head-to-head in just over 48 hours’ time, a Christmas cracker we simply cannot wait to pull.

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"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."