Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has revealed Prince William sent a series of morale-boosting messages to him before Friday night's important 1-0 victory over Southampton.
The Villans got back on the winning trail against the Saints courtesy of Jacob Ramsey's close-range effort just before half-time. It was an important three points for Gerrard's side, who also managed their first clean sheet in 12 matches.
Speaking after the match, Gerrard revealed that he had shared several messages with big Villa fan Prince William in the run-up to the game, which saw fans observe poignant tributes to his late grandmother, the Queen.
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"I’m sure he’ll be very proud of the clean sheet," Gerrard said, reflecting on a rare shutout. "He messaged through the week to the club. I think that shows everything about what he thinks of this club and the support he wants to give.
"For us to reward him with a result, I’m sure he’ll be extremely proud." Asked to explain the conversations he'd had with the new Prince of Wales, Gerrard added: "It was along the lines of I’d love to be there but, obviously, everyone understands his personal situation. He’s been consistently in touch. He’s very supportive of the boys individually. I’ve spoken to him about them all.
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"It’s really impressive, his knowledge, and how much he’s into it. It certainly took me aback and surprised me. He’s very much involved with Villa and for him to message in the situation he’s in is really impressive."
Prince William has been spotted at Villa Park on multiple occasions down the years and even attended their Championship play-off final victory over Derby County at Wembley in 2019.
One year later, the next in line to the throne explained how he fell in love with Villa after watching them in an FA Cup tie against Bolton at the age of 11. "I sat there among all the Villa fans and I loved it," he told That Peter Crouch Podcast.
"I thought the atmosphere was great," he said. "I felt a real connection with the club. I felt Villa was a very proud Midlands club and it felt very special. Only in the last few years have I got a grip of Villa as my real team and I watch them a lot and I get into the stats."
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