Bertrand Traore: 'It is a privilege to be coached by a legend'

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Bertrand Traore in action for Aston VillaInjury and international duty have restricted Bertrand Traore to just seven Premier League appearances this season

Burkina Faso captain Bertrand Traore says it is "a privilege" to be managed by former Liverpool and England midfielder Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa.

Gerrard, 41, took over the Premier League club in November, following three years with Scottish giants Rangers.

In a playing career spanning 19 years, Gerrard won nine trophies with the Reds, including the Champions League in 2004-05.

"I watched him and supported him. We dream about this kind of player, now I am happy to be his player," Traore told BBC Sport Africa.

"He is one of the greatest players of the game. It is always a privilege to be coached by a legend."

Traore's opportunities under Gerrard have been limited as the forward was recovering from injury when he was appointed as boss.

The Burkinabe went away in January on international duty for the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, where Traore's Stallions finished fourth.

However, the 26-year-old forward believes he has benefitted from learning from a man who won 114 caps for England.

"These kind of players have experienced a lot, won a lot and know everything about the game," Traore said.

"It is always good to have advice from somebody who has so much experience and has done a lot in the game."

Targeting success with the Stallions

Bertrand Traore in action for Burkina FasoTraore made his Burkina Faso debut aged 15 and played his first Premier League game, with Chelsea, aged 20

Traore is the only man from Burkina Faso to have ever appeared, and scored, in the Premier League and hopes he can pass on his experience to his compatriots - even if he is likely to be emulated in the near future.

Stallions right-back Issa Kabore, who impressed at the Nations Cup, is on the books at Manchester City but out on loan with French side Troyes following a stint in Belgium last season.

Meanwhile, others are tipping rising Bayer Leverkusen star Edmond Tapsoba to make an impact in the Premier League one day.

"I try to bring back this experience together with the other players," Traore said.

"We have some [others] who play in good leagues so we try to bring everything together and try to get the best team as possible."

Burkina Faso sports journalist Moussavou Billa believes that his international captain's long-standing presence in the Premier League, where he has registered nine goals in total (with his first in 2016), has opened doors.

"We didn't have many like him in Burkina," Billa told BBC Sport Africa when explaining Traore's rise at such a young age.

"But step-by-step, we have younger players in Europe. A few years ago, we would have players arriving in top-flight European clubs, but older. They would arrive at 27 or 28, playing in the Netherlands, in Belgium, in France.

"But now, there are more and more young players coming up. Let's not forget it's only in the past 10 years that Burkina Faso has become an important breeding ground for African football players."

After reaching the Nations Cup semi-finals in Cameroon, and Traore - who made his senior international debut aged 15 - craves further success with the West Africans, who have yet to win a major title or reach a World Cup.

"I have been always proud to represent my country and now I have more responsibilities because I am captain of the team. The motivation is still the same - I try to give everything," the former Lyon player said.

"I want to win something with my country. I always try to give the best of myself and then I will see how far I can go. It depends on the feeling, how I feel. We will see when to stop with the national team or not."

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