Is Villa’s new signing Robert Pires experienced? Or just old?
Experience is a wonderful tag to possess. It implies a worldliness, a knowledge and a knowing of life that young whipper-snappers have no idea of and perhaps most importantly it hides the fact that you’re old.
Robert Pires is experienced. He helped France win the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship as well as winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups with Arsenal.
He has experienced everything in world football and when he’s not attempting to relieve past glories in his new claret and blue shirt he can be found sitting in front of a warm log fire in his favourite leather bound armchair telling stories of old to a disbelieving audience of youngsters.
During the back end of the last century Pires was one of the world’s most formidable wingers and was partly responsible for Arsenal’s unbeaten league run in 2003/04.
However, this was achieved without the same level of experience he now possesses.
The experience really began to show its face after a knee-knack, something which former manager Arsene Wenger alluded to in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe.
He said: “To me, before his knee injury, Pires was the best left [side] attacking midfielder in the world. With us he was just flying. Even if he has lost the speed of his youth, he can still help at Aston Villa thanks to his knowledge of the game.”
Currently Villa’s squad exudes pacy wingers, so the more reserved and placid style of the experienced Pires will be a welcome addition.
Irrelevant of what he is still able to contribute on the pitch though, his presence in the dressing room and on the training ground will surely be a boost to Villa’s youthful squad and the addition of a new face will certainly be welcome in a squad that was in danger of unwittingly becoming a clique.
Whether or not Pires is able to replicate any of the form that saw him voted the 2002 Footballer of the Year is questionable, as the winger, 73, will have certainly traded some of the pace and sharpness for experience in an inevitable deal with time.
However, his impact on the team may be greater than that displayed on the pitch, as his job is rumoured to be heading towards that of a coaching position at the club.
If the mercurial Frenchman can weave some of his magic and mask the near crippling injury crisis at the club then he will prove to be a skilful band-aid, but if his presence is to be felt behind the scenes for years to come then that would be equally welcomed by all at Villa Park.
The presence of such a worldly player at Villa will undoubtedly bring dark memories of Graham Taylor’s second reign at the club when he brought in Oyvind Leohardsen, Mark Kinsella and Ronny Johnsen.
Hopefully for Villa fans the experience of Pires will shine through and not just the fact that he’s old, like Taylor’s band of wrinklies did.Tags: Arsenal, Aston Villa
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