While an encouraging start was more than welcome by the incoming manager, it tailed off and the side suffered throughout Christmas and New Year as Gerrard realised that this Premier League management business would be trickier than anticipated.
One area that urgently needs strengthening, however, is the centre forward position. Gerrard does have Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings ready and available, but it is a player who is currently out on loan that could be key in the future.
Preston boss Ryan Lowe has heaped the praise on the youngster since he joined, labelling him “bullish” and someone who has “an abundance of talent” and he isn’t wrong.
Archer has been involved for Villa in the Premier League and EFL Cup this season, but it’s his heroics at his adopted side that had led many to sing his praises.
The way it’s going, Archer could well make the club a fortune in the near future, although Gerrard might just want to hang onto the striker for the time being.
Pre-season will be an important time for the 20-year-old, and it could well be his big opportunity to tell the former England captain and his staff that he deserves a spot in the first-team squad for the whole campaign.
Whatever happens, Villa has a remarkable talent in their midst and must keep hold of him for the time being.