Paul Merson has told Sky Sports News HQ that Tim Sherwood is the perfect manager for Aston Villa due to his leadership, talent-nurturing skills and penchant for attacking football.
Villa plummeted into the relegation zone for the first time this season following last week’s 2-0 defeat at Hull, with a dismal run of two wins in 21 Premier League games leading to the departure of the beleaguered Paul Lambert.
On a run of five straight top-flight defeats, the incoming Sherwood now has 13 fixtures left to keep the club from the drop, but Merson insists his former Portsmouth teammate is not just a short-term option, backing him to carve out a long and successful career in the West Midlands.
The ex-Tottenham Hotspur boss remains well-respected for his work with the club’s development team during his six seasons on the coaching staff, and also installed a more attacking approach in the first-team after replacing Andre Villas-Boas for the second half of last term.
Merson believes he has more than enough talent at his disposal within the Villa squad to stave off relegation, and thinks his leadership qualities will get the best out of the likes of the misfiring Christian Benteke.
“First of all, I don’t like seeing people get the sack, but it’s great to have Tim back in the game as a manager,” he said on Thursday morning.
“He’s enthusiastic, fresh and he’ll get them scoring goals.
“Villa haven’t got a lot of money – they’re not going to go out and spend £40 million – but he’ll give the kids a chance. They’ve got a great academy there too which helps.
“He’ll make them more attacking and he’s got the firepower to do that. On his day, Benteke is very good and [Gabby] Agbonlahor can be a handful.
“[Andi] Weimann I think is very good as well so he has got the attacking players. It’s just giving them that confidence.”
Sherwood is currently gearing up for his first game in charge when Stoke visit Villa Park on Saturday afternoon, and the former England international has promised to give the claret and blue faithful something to shout about.
“The fans are going to see a team playing on the front foot and with 100 per cent endeavour for the cause to get this club out of the position it is in,” he told the Daily Mail.
“I want them to dribble past people, attack this Stoke side - give the fans something to support.”