Marc Albrighton has hailed the influence of veteran midfielder Robert Pires on Aston Villa's youngsters.
Eyebrows were raised when Villa manager Gerard Houllier added 37-year-old Pires to his squad. But the former Arsenal player is starting to justify Houllier's faith and was given a standing ovation by Villa fans when substituted near the end of Saturday's 4-1 win over Blackburn.
Albrighton said: "He (Pires) is a big influence on the younger players. He passes on a lot of tips. He helps the young boys out, in fact, not just the young boys but the whole squad. The rest of the lads appreciate what he has done in the game. If he is telling you something, it is definitely something to take on board."
Albrighton added: "He (Pires) shows touches in training that make you sit back and think 'that is why he was so good'.
"Against Blackburn, he did it again on the Premier League stage. He has done very well for us."
While Pires is the experienced head in midfield, Albrighton also feels Villa now have the pace to trouble most defences.
Ashley Young and Stewart Downing tormented Rovers and 12 points from the last seven games have lifted Villa into mid-table.
Albrighton said: "With the players we've got going forward, and the pace we've got, we can definitely trouble teams.
"It's coming from both wings and down the middle. We've got some great fire-power down the middle now with Darren Bent and Ashley Young just behind him.
"Defences have got to be a little bit worried by that."
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