Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood explains why young players are so important

Jack Grealish

He believes the club needs young homegrown players to thrive.

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has received plenty of praise in his relatively short career as a football manager for his utilisation of the youth system at both Tottenham Hotspur and now Aston Villa.

With Spurs he was commended for giving the likes of Nabil Bentaleb and Harry Kane more opportunities in the first-team. At Villa he has Jack Grealish as one of the main stars in his team and also gave a debut to teenager Rushian Hepburn-Murphy earlier in the campaign.

At the weekend he spoke to former Tottenham Hotspur team-mate and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp about his feeling on young players, stating his belief they are the ones who become true club legends:

"I certainly won't be bringing anyone into the football club who will then block up the pathway of a young talent. I take a lot of interest in the young development of English players. I have seen already, in the short space of time I've been here, that we've got probably three or four that could step up.

"You should look at your academy first and see what's coming through. If you look at history, the homegrown players at every club, like John Terry, a Carragher at Liverpool, Glenn Hoddle at Tottenham, Tony Adams at Arsenal. These guys have got the statues outside their clubs, these are the ones who if you cut them in half they bleed the colour of their club and I think that is very important."

Villa do already have plenty of top talent in the squad that came through the ranks - such as Nathan Baker, Ciaran Clark and Gabriel Agbonlahor. But bringing more through from a very impressive youth system seems to be a key factor in Villa's future under Sherwood.

Villa have improved under Sherwood and he has guided them to the FA Cup final at the end of the season. However, they still remain in a relegation dogfight - just two points ahead on Sunderland in the final relegation spot, who have a game in hand.

Sherwood will hope his current crop of academy stars and foreign talent such as Christian Benteke and Carlos Sanchez can guide the club to safety.

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