Aston Villa Steven Gerrard doesn't want to speculate on club's link to Philippe Coutinho

Words by ITV News Central Producer Jake Gilbert

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard doesn't want to speculate on his side's link to Barcelona player Philippe Coutinho.

Gerrard played with Coutinho at Liverpool between 2013 and 2015.

The pair were part of the team that finished runners-up in the Premier League in 2013/14.

The Villa boss calls Coutinho a "special footballer" but doesn't say whether the club are interested in signing his former Liverpool teammate.

Gerrard said: "He was incredible at Liverpool, so I can understand why he is linked to a lot of clubs.

"I can understand why a lot of supporters, up and down the country are speaking about him."

Coutinho battles for the ball. Credit: PA

Gerrard adds: "I don't think you get a nickname as a magician, if you're not a special footballer.

"He's someone I have incredible amounts of respect for but I don't want to add to any speculation, because he belongs to Barcelona."

Several Premier League sides including Aston Villa have been linked with a move for Coutinho in the January transfer window after it's been reported the player wants to leave his current club Barcelona after four years in the Spanish city.

Gerrard was speaking during a press conference ahead of Villa's third round FA Cup tie against Manchester United on Monday.