Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Rioch has praised Tim Sherwood’s work at Villa Park, claiming that he has the DNA to be a great manager.
“There has always been something special about Tim Sherwood, for me,” the club legend said. “It’s in his DNA to be a leader. It’s just what he does naturally. Our job as managers is to lift players, to help them take the lead and believe in themselves.
“Tim does that so well. He makes sure that everyone goes out there believing they are going to win.”
Sherwood has certainly overseen a brilliant turnaround at Villa since his appointment, guiding the Birmingham-based club to Premier League safety and an FA Cup final. Should the win the cup, Villa will also have earned Europa League football for next season, something that looked a far off dream under ex-manager Paul Lambert.
Whilst occasionally derided for his tactical work, a lot of which is actually very astute, Sherwood is seen as a classic England manager who motivates players rather than focusing on systems to defeat opposition teams.
It is why Villa have proven so successful in the FA Cup under Sherwood, and could well win the entire competition in a one-off game.
The game will allow Sherwood to motivate his players for a one-off tie, and whilst Arsene Wenger may focus upon outwitting Villa on the field of play, a lot can be said for a team up for the fight - especially in a cup final.
There are still doubts over Sherwood’s abilities, and they will remain until he has seen through a job for an entire season. However, he has proven himself to have changed Villa’s fortunes in a short space of time, and Rioch’s praise of him certainly seems well founded.