Aston Villa's Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori modelling his game after Sergio Ramos

Tiago Ilori

The 22-year-old defender has admitted to being a big fan of the Real Madrid star's all-round ability.

Aston Villa new boy Tiago Ilori has told AVTV how has been trying to model his game after Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos.

Ilori, 22, joined Villa on a season-long loan deal from Liverpool just before the transfer deadline earlier this month, with the claret and blues having the option to make his spell permanent at the end of the campaign for a fee believed to be between £6 million and £9 million [h/t The Times].

The Portugal Under-21 international, who began his professional career at Sporting Club de Portugal before a £7 million move to Anfield in 2013, is now expected to provide cover for fellow centre-halves Micah Richards, Ciaran Clark, Joleon Lescott and Jores Okore but he could also fill in at either right-back or as a holding midfielder.

That versatility is a trait which the youngster happens to share with Ramos, who he readily admits is one of his favourite defenders and someone who he has tried to emulate due to his all-round qualities.

“I’ve always liked players out of my positon, like Zinedine Zidane for example,” he said. “But, in my position, Sergio Ramos is someone that I like a lot. I like the way he plays and that he’s not just a defender – he contributes more to the team in other ways.

“I just like to watch a lot of football, though, so it might be him today but it could be someone else tomorrow.”

The “someone else” in question could well be new teammates Richards and Lescott, who Ilori believes can both take on big roles in his development thanks to their substantial Premier League experience.

“They’re very experienced players,” he said of the pair. “I’ve always watched them since being in Portugal. They’ve played for some top teams so I’m excited to work with them as well.

“It’s a great defence and I’m hoping I can learn from them.”

Having previously enjoyed loan spells at Granada and Bordeaux, respectively, over the past two seasons, Ilori failed to make a competitive appearance for Liverpool before his Villa loan but he has been considered one of their top prospects since his arrival from Sporting.

It remains to be seen how much he will feature for Tim Sherwood’s side this season but, given his recognised potential, one would imagine that there is an excellent chance his spell becomes permanent next summer.

He certainly has a long way to go to match Ramos’ achievements but, having already impressed in both La Liga and Ligue 1, there is good reason to believe that Villa have a potential Premier League star on their hands – one who should benefit from his new manager’s renowned knack for nurturing emerging talent.

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