Tim Sherwood discusses Aston Villa new boy Adama Traore's fitness

Villa Park 6

The 19-year-old winger played his first 90 minutes for the club in Monday night's Under-21 match against Derby County.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has stressed that new signing Adama Traore will need to get his fitness up before he can be relied upon to contribute to the first-team.

Sherwood was speaking to AVTV after watching Traore make his Villa debut for the Under-21 side in Monday night’s 1-0 victory over Derby County, when the 19-year-old combined with Carles Gil to set up Jack Grealish’s first-half winner.

The former Barcelona winger’s 90-minute run-out saw him showcase his renowned pace and dribbling prowess and, having been considered one of the Spanish giants’ top prospects before last week’s £7 million move to Villa Park, there are big expectations for him in England.

Nevertheless, while Sherwood is of course excited about his potential, he also warned not to expect too much too soon from the ex-Spain Under-19 international after witnessing him tire over the course of the match at St George’s Park.

“Adama looked very short of fitness to me,” he told AVTV. “He’s going to need the exercise to get himself up to speed.

“I don’t expect too much too soon but I know exactly what we’ve bought there. He’s a player who’s developing and has got exciting talent for the future of the club.

“We’re hoping that he can produce something for us immediately but I don’t think we should be putting too much pressure on him.”

Born in Catalonia to Malian parents, Traore joined Barcelona in 2004 at the age of just eight, before rising through the ranks of the famed La Masia to earn his La Liga debut in November 2013.

The skilful attacker would go on to earn just three further senior appearances over the next 18 months due to strong competition for places but he was able to showcase his talent for the club’s B team in the Spanish second tier over that same period.

During the past two seasons, he managed to rack up eight goals and 18 assists in 63 Segunda Division games, while also completing an outstanding 243 successful dribbles last term – 63 more than any other player in Europe [h/t Opta].

With the B team since dropping down the third tier, however, and a first-team promotion failing to materialise, the time had come for Traore to move on this summer, as Villa fought off reported competition from the likes of Liverpool and Stoke [h/t Daily Mail] to secure his prized signature on a deal until 2020.

The club’s 10th summer signing, his status as one of Europe’s most exciting talents means the claret and blue faithful should be thrilled about his capture but, at the same time, Sherwood’s comments seem to suggest that it might be a while before fans see him at his best.

A start in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Crystal Palace certainly sounds unlikely but there is still a chance he could feature off the bench as a late-game weapon – a role which would allow him to use his pace to exploit the home side’s tiring defence.

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