Reo-Coker backed to stay cool

BY foxsports • April 16, 2011

Reo-Coker was involved in an angry exchange with Joey Barton during last weekend's 1-0 home success over Newcastle in the Premier League. He can expect a hostile reception from Hammers fans, who have never forgiven him for leaving Upton Park nearly four years ago in an £8million switch to Villa. But Houllier is confident the former England Under-21 captain will retain his composure. Houllier said: "I didn't see that (the Reo-Coker and Barton spat). But I think Nigel will make a demonstration of composure. "Of course, I understand that he has fire in his belly but he must have ice in his head too. That's what makes you a winner. "How can you be clear and analysing the opponents' weaknesses and posing problems if you're heated? You can't. If you want to control the opposition you have to control yourself first. "Nigel has improved this side of his game. His overall game has improved. "People tell me supporters have long memories but Nigel is a man now, not a kid. "He will be all right. I think that he will be able to prove that he can cope with that." Houllier brought Reo-Coker back into Villa's first-team plans immediately after taking charge seven months ago. He said: "Nigel has got character. Whether he plays or not, he's good in the dressing room, he's a team member of the squad. "He's improved all-round as a player and as a man. "We don't have many players like that who can win the ball back. "He's a very committed type of player, he doesn't miss training and he's never injured." Houllier confirmed that his £6million January capture, midfielder Jean Makoun, has been left out of the side to face West Ham with Reo-Coker partnered by Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov. The former Lille player impressed in his early games for Villa but has been below his best in recent matches. Houllier said: "You know that Nigel and Stiliyan are playing tomorrow. "As for Jean, it takes time to adjust to the pace. I was speaking to Stiliyan when he came from Scotland (Celtic) and he said it took him time to adjust to the pace of the game and the physical aspect. "Maybe now is the time to give Jean a little break and a rest. I think maybe we will see the best of him next season."

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