Pires gives us experience, says Houllier

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The Independent Football

Gerard Houllier believes his new signing, Robert Pires, can have a major influence on Aston Villa's cluster of rising young talent.

Pires has signed a six-month deal and could make his debut at Blackburn Rovers tomorrow, subject to international clearance. And Houllier feels the 37-year-old can help the likes of Marc Albrighton, Barry Bannan and Ciaran Clark with their development.

Bannan followed the other two in committing his future to the club by signing a new three-and-a-half-year deal yesterday. His manager said: "I am used to signing old players because I signed Gary McAllister at Liverpool when he was 35... I definitely think it helped Steven Gerrard.

"Pires can also help our younger players develop. It's not only during games. You practise every day in training. His game intelligence, experience, attitude, is a good example for the young and sometimes they need tips."