They have come through – Gerrard backs Beale after family shaken by car accident

Aston Villa drew 0-0 at Leicester to end a run of defeats.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard insisted Michael Beale’s family came first (Nick Potts/PA)

By Nick Mashiter, PA

Aston Villa boss Steve Gerrard insisted Michael Beale’s family were the priority and praised his assistant after his wife and children were involved in a car accident on Saturday.

The Villa number two tweeted that his family, including wife Roxanne and three children, were safe and well following the accident with a lorry on the M1.

Beale left the travelling Villa party to check on them before returning for the 0-0 draw at Leicester.

Gerrard said: “Thankfully Michael’s family are OK but it certainly shook them up. I’ve said many times that the only thing above football is family.

“So we said to Michael to go away and prioritise his family. He did. Thankfully they are in a good place and it sums Mick up that he was desperate to get back and help the team.

“They are the staff members you want but the priority is that the family is safe. He has young children that were in the car. They are all OK, they have come through.”

The draw, which left Villa 15th in the Premier League, ended a run of four straight defeats to leave Gerrard satisfied with his side’s efforts.

Gerrard said: “It’s a big positive today, Brendan (Rodgers) has got this team well coached and all near enough back to full fitness. It is a really tough game for us.

“He didn’t make as many changes as he has been doing and showed us the respect. You are not given anything here, you’ve got to earn it.

“I crave more of these, if you can’t win in this league it’s important you take something away from the game because these points improve your league position. If I look at Newcastle and Brentford away we could have been four or five points better off by defending like we did today.”

Leon Bailey missed a fine early chance before Ollie Watkins fired at Kasper Schmeichel but Leicester edged a forgettable first half despite not forcing Emi Martinez into a save.

Villa tried to force the issue after the break but Tyrone Mings got a header all wrong and Schmeichel beat away Watkins’ angled drive.

Jamie Vardy rose from the bench but was unable to break the deadlock with James Maddison’s late free-kick the closest anyone came.

And boss Brendan Rodgers will refuse to rush Vardy back to face Roma after his Leicester return.

His 19-minute appearance after six weeks out with a knee injury was just a second outing since December following a hamstring issue.

Leicester now face Roma in a Europa Conference League semi-final first leg on Thursday and Rodgers will think about whether to unleash Vardy.

“Jamie brings an extra dimension to the game. He hasn’t trained a great deal but it was good to get him out onto the field,” he said.

“We’ll see (if he can start against Roma). We’ll have a chat with him after the game and see how his recovery is. He has been out for a long period and we maybe won’t rush it if we don’t need to.

“I was pleased for the players. The last time since Aston Villa played we have played four games and it’s a lot. I thought the players gave everything. Maybe, because of the games we have played, the speed in the final third of the pitch maybe isn’t quite there for us.

“You have to show your resilience, if you can’t get the breakthrough to win it you certainly must not lose it.”

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