Former Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has hailed Steven Gerrard's "winning mentality" and believes the Liverpool legend is an "exciting appointment" for his old club.

Gerrard, who led Rangers to their first Scottish Premiership title in a decade last season, left his post and replaced Dean Smith at Villa Park on Thursday, handed a reported three-and-a-half-year deal.

Petrov was a Villa player between 2006 and his retirement in 2013, having signed from Rangers' rivals Celtic.

The 42-year-old had a keen eye on developments in Scotland and expects Gerrard to set a high bar at his new club in his unrelenting pursuit of success.

"[Gerrard brings a] winning mentality," Petrov told Stats Perform. "I mean, you can see the way he manages, you can see the way he demands from the club.

"He made Glasgow Rangers a very solid, competitive, aggressive team, which was very hard to beat. Everybody they played against found it really difficult. So I'm sure he's going to do that with Aston Villa.

"The way he manages, the demands he has through the work process, on the training ground and in the games, will set the high targets for not just for the club but for the players, because sometimes you need that kind of manager to demand and set up different targets, a different voice in the club.

"And he showed that he won't stop until he succeeds, and his managerial journey has started very well so far."

Petrov feels Gerrard's character as a player is evident in his approach as a manager and that the 41-year-old's stature and demanding nature can turn Villa's fortunes around in the same way he transformed Rangers.

"It is an exciting appointment, I think," Petrov said. "I think everybody knows Steven Gerrard as a player [and] what he achieved as a player in the Premier League. He became an icon for the Premier League as a player, and he started his coaching journey in a completely different way.

"He wanted to become the best. He took on an incredible project at Glasgow Rangers. I think he kind of succeeded. 

"He managed to change the mentality and the way the club is thinking now is as a club, and he's been given an opportunity to manage another huge team, which is a great opportunity to go back to the Premier League and show what he can do."

Petrov added: "He was a leader. He was a captain. In every interview, he was talking about preparation. He wanted to be the best. He was going through a different mentality in training.

"He was there to compete, to push others to be the best. And I think all these values from being a player, he's kind of implementing it into his coaching abilities because you can see he coaches the same way he was as a player.

"The demands are very high. He demands from himself first, for people that work with him and the players as well, and he makes sure he gets involved in a good project.

"He got involved in a project, Glasgow Rangers, they had a target. They have to stop [Celtic's] 10 in a row. They have to change their mentality, and they have to become successful again.

"He managed to do that in the space of three years. So now we have a completely different task at Aston Villa and I believe that he analysed and he managed to understand what the club stands for and what the targets are."

Gerrard's first game as Villa boss comes after the international break against Brighton and Hove Albion on November 20.

Jack Grealish and Aston Villa provided a perfect model of how to sell a star player "in the best possible way", Stiliyan Petrov says.

And former Villa captain Petrov feels it is an example Harry Kane and Tottenham should heed as the England captain attempts to join Grealish at Manchester City.

Grealish left Villa Park for £100million this week, having wanted to join a Champions League club.

For Kane, who has already played in Europe's elite club competition, the intention appears to be to join a genuine title contender.

Spurs have fallen away, while City appear well set for their Premier League title defence.

It was reported Kane skipped pre-season training in a bid to force a transfer, although the striker said on Friday he "would never, and have never, refused to train" and was due to return "as planned".

City remain interested, as Pep Guardiola confirmed earlier the same day, but Tottenham are not willing sellers in the same way Villa were, having agreed Grealish's £100m release clause last year.

Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were each at odds with Spurs previously as they sought moves to Real Madrid, and Petrov suggests the "communication" between players and board at the London club is not as effective as at Villa.

"Everybody is blaming Harry Kane, [but] the way Aston Villa has handled Jack Grealish's situation was the prime example," Petrov, one of the founders of Player 4 Player, told Stats Perform.

"They sat down, they negotiated, they have talked about it. They managed to send Jack in the best possible way. Some fans will be unhappy, but many will be happy.

"Don't forget that they will get a really great price tag: £100million for Jack.

"He has given great years as a player for Aston Villa, they sat down, they have done it nicely, the player left in the best possible way, he was back for training, but that comes from the manager, from the coach of the club.

"And sometimes, you know, people blame the players, but don't blame just the players. You know what? It is always conversations, communication and the way of doing it.

"It seems like Tottenham haven't managed to do it for many years, because I can give you a lot of prime examples of a lot of players that ended in the same way. Probably that is the way they have decided to work."

Jack Grealish will be compared to global superstars like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe following his £100million move to Manchester City, Stiliyan Petrov expects.

England winger Grealish completed his transfer from boyhood club Aston Villa to City this week and could make his debut from the bench in Saturday's Community Shield.

Villa confirmed they had received £100m from City for their captain, triggering a release clause and making Grealish the Premier League's first nine-figure signing.

That is a select group across Europe, including the world's most expensive player Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Mbappe.

"Jack Grealish has become part of the Neymar 100 million, Mbappe 100 million, [Philippe] Coutinho [group]," ex-Villa captain Petrov, one of the founders of Player 4 Player, told Stats Perform.

"So now he is not just a UK star and brand, now he's become global. Now he's become even bigger because now he is compared with one of the best.

"All the eyes will be on Jack now. Jack has to understand that the hard work starts now.

"In a team like Manchester City, every single player there is a top player. So, you have to go there, you have to adjust your game, you have to be at the top of your game every single time.

"If you don't play well every single week, the next [player] is waiting for your spot. When [they take] over, sometimes it takes months before he comes out again because the team is so well drilled and they just win games.

"So, Jack has a huge challenge. But when you are a top player, when you are a player with his abilities, you are always willing to challenge yourself.

"That is probably one of the reasons that he moved on, because with everything we will be reading in the press about Villa looking after him, Villa offering him a new contract, I think that Villa have done everything in their power to keep Jack Grealish.

"Unfortunately, that offer came at the time he has to make a decision to develop in a different way or stay at the club that he loves."

Petrov added: "He's got the platform now. He just needs to go and take it. Because the platform is there. He is at Manchester City. Manchester City will be fighting, will be challenging for every single trophy, at every single season.

"It is down to him how he is going to look after himself, how he is going to prepare for different dynamic of the season.

"Because at the moment, Jack will have another challenge as well; he only played in the Premier League and in some club games, but now he has to adjust to more travelling, with the European games, more games, more intensity, more demand.

"So, this is something that he has to adjust. But now he has the platform. If he can manage to use it, anything is reachable for this boy."

Forging a role in the team is another challenge, with Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden last season often taking up the left-sided positions Grealish likes to occupy.

But Petrov said: "He has got the ability to fit in any position.

"Pep Guardiola is a completely different manager from anybody else; he gets the quality of the player and he uses it in a completely different way.

"I could give you a premier example with Foden. Everybody says that the Foden position is in the middle and he plays on the left, the wide left, and the wide right.

"So, Jack Grealish will be the same. [Guardiola] will just develop and teach Jack Grealish to play in a number of positions.

"Can Jack Grealish adjust to that? He can. Certainly. Because he has got the ability, he has got the knowledge and the awareness to do those positions.

"I believe when Pep Guardiola spoke to Jack Grealish, he would have told him how to play number of positions, how to develop his skills, his ability, but also how to fight to be one of the best players in the world.

"And I believe that was what Jack was wanting: somebody to tell him that he is going to be in the spotlight, people will be talking about him.

"He needed more persuasion. That was what he needed. Just to show him that he can fight to be one of the best."

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