Pires to influence Villa youngsters

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Gary McAllister believes Robert Pires will have a positive effect on Aston Villa's rising stars after returning to the Barclays Premier League at the age of 37.

Villa boss Gerard Houllier gave McAllister a new lease of life in his late 30s when signing him for Liverpool and now he has offered the same chance to former Arsenal player Pires who has signed a six-month contract until the end of the season.

Villa assistant manager McAllister said: "He is a proven winner. It gets thrown around a lot these days when people say they are a winner but he is a genuine article.

"He's a European champion and he has won the World Cup as well. He has vast experience and was a fantastic player in the Premier League for Arsenal."

McAllister added: "For all the younger players - what a tremendous addition.

"The younger players can only learn from watching a guy like Robert on the training field.

"He will gain respect. But I am sure Robert Pires isn't coming here just to be a player that everyone is going to stand back and admire.

"He will want to gain the respect of the fact that he is still competitive and still able to do a job at this level."

Pires told Aston Villa TV: "I can't wait to play and put on that new shirt. It is very exciting.

"I am very happy to join Aston Villa because it's a big club in England.

"I am also thrilled to have the chance of working with Gerard Houllier. I know him."

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