CHERRIES head coach Scott Parker said playing alongside Steven Gerrard was “a pleasure” as he bids to inflict early-season pain on his former England team-mate.

The pair were regular midfield rivals during their playing careers, as well as lining up together at international level, including under Roy Hodgson at Euro 2012.

Parker is preparing for his maiden managerial battle against Gerrard at senior level, with his promoted Cherries set to host Aston Villa in their Premier League opener (3pm).

“He was brilliant to play with. Against, not so much,” said Parker.

“I think Stevie was, certainly in our generation, one of the best midfielders. An all-round midfielder, can do every part of the game, score goals, dynamic defensively as well.

“Playing with him was a pleasure, to play with him as well during that tournament (Euro 2012).

“A lot of fond memories playing against and some not so fond ones because there was always a battle on your hands and there were always some challenges.”