Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has spoken of his respect for Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers ahead of Sunday's midlands derby between the two clubs.

Gerrard played under Rodgers at Liverpool between 2012 and 2015, almost winning the Premier League together in 2014 before blowing a five-point lead at the top of the table with only three matches remaining.

The pair crossed paths again in Scotland, this time as opposing managers, where they were in charge of the Old Firm clubs.

Rodgers won back-to-back domestic trebles during his two full seasons at Celtic, where he faced Gerrard's Rangers team on two occasions. Each recorded a 1-0 win during that 2018-19 season, Gerrard's first in management, before Rodgers left for Leicester shortly afterwards.

Last season, Gerrard delivered Rangers' first Scottish Premiership title for a decade, in the process preventing Celtic from winning an historic 10 in a row.

The former Liverpool captain, 41, revealed he has learned a lot from Rodgers over the years.

"Brendan is a top coach," said Gerrard. "He came in at Liverpool at a time when we needed someone like him in terms of a modern coach who was going to take us forward, but also play some attractive football.

"I think the biggest thing was his delivery on the training pitch. You could see quite clearly that he had got a lot of experience and he was a good manager to play for in terms of a personal relationship.

"It would have been very naive from my point of view not to try and learn as much as I can and what I could from Brendan, and I continued to do it even when we never worked together because obviously I came up against him in Scotland and I have seen how well he has done in the Premier League, which is certainly no surprise to me.

"He is one of many managers who I watch closely and, in my position, when you are new and starting out and trying to gain that experience then they are the type of people you try to learn from.

"There is a mutual respect there. He always helped me as a player and I'll always remember that, but once the whistle goes, we'll be ready to compete for the points."

Rodgers, meanwhile, is not surprised to see Gerrard make a successful start to his managerial career.

"He was brilliant, very supportive, had the respect of everyone at the club for what he had done, but he never rested on that. He was an incredible professional, very focussed on his game and making improvements. Even though he was one of the icons of the league, he was keen to embrace that.

"For a young manager going into Liverpool, he was outstanding for me. I'm not surprised he's made that step and gone into management.

"We don't speak so much now, life is very busy, but I can see he's taken his mindset as a player into his coaching and management career and he has started off really well, which doesn't surprise me at all.

"Most of my players that I've worked with, there's a friendship there and I am always there to support them if it's needed. When you manage Celtic and you manage Rangers, it's very difficult to have that contact because it can be a real cauldron, so it can be difficult to have that connection. But from time to time I'll drop Steven a text and it will be good to see him again at the weekend."