Friday, February 5, 2010

Stevie has faith in Aquilani to deliver in the derby

Steven Gerrard believes Alberto Aquilani will have no problems in handling the derby-day atmosphere as he prepares for his first meeting with Everton at Anfield tomorrow.

The Italian international has started the last four home games for the Reds and is again in contention for a place in Rafael Benitez's midfield for the 213th Merseyside derby.

Despite a frustrating start to his Anfield career as he battled to overcome an ankle injury, Gerrard insists Aquilani is coming to terms with English football and will be helped tomorrow by his experience of derby clashes in Italy.

"Whether he starts or plays as a sub, Alberto knows what derbies are all about," said Gerrard. "I'm sure he will handle the occasion no problem.

"He will also get help from myself and Jamie (Carragher) to let him know what this game is about in the dressing room. Merseyside derbies are very quick and frantic in the first 15-20 minutes and the tempo and intensity is very high.

"It will be a great game for him to notch his first goal, too. He is improving the more he is playing and training.

"There were always going to be high expectations because of his big price tag. It takes time to get used to the speed and pace of the English game when you come from abroad, but he certainly has the talent."

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