Former Arsenal, West Ham and Wales striker John Hartson told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast Show for talkSPORT that he feels Stiliyan Petrov’s Aston Villa return is about more than just the emotion involved.
The BBC reported yesterday that Petrov is returning to the club to work as a first team coach under Tim Sherwood and Hartson feels it’s a very clever football move by the Villa boss.
“I know he did some work with the academy and found it difficult – he was recovering (physically from illness) and had to spend time with his family,” said Hartson.
“Look at his experience, he has over 100 caps for Bulgaria and a tremendous level of football knowledge.”
Petrov also knows the identity and what it means to represent Aston Villa perfectly.
He’s a very good man to stress key qualities to the younger players coming through the ranks at Villa Park, which should help give the team a good spine of players who are loyal and fiercely committed to the club.
The level of work Petrov will have to undertake as a coach will be testing for him, as will the pressure as the side tries to stay in the Premier League and avoid the drop down into the Championship.
However, he’s in a better position in terms of his health than he was when he worked with the academy and he’s an inspirational figure, not just because of the adversity he’s experienced in his life.
Fingers crossed he works well with Villa and their immediate results and fortunes continue to improve.