Belfast Telegraph

Aston Villa are out to pounce on any Liverpool nerves

By Simon Hart

Tim Sherwood will come up against the one that got away at Wembley tomorrow when his Aston Villa side face a Liverpool team featuring "street footballer" Raheem Sterling.

That was Sherwood's description of the Liverpool winger as he recalled pushing Tottenham to move for Sterling during his time as head of the White Hart Lane academy, prior to the player's move to Anfield.

"In those early days, I thought he was a talent that doesn't fall off trees very often but he decided to go to Liverpool and you have to say he made a good choice," said Sherwood. "He was 14, 15 and at the QPR academy.

"He was a street footballer," he added. "They are a dying breed now because society doesn't allow these kids to go out and play, but he is just a fantastic talent."

Tomorrow, Villa are looking to reach their first FA Cup final since 2000, and Sherwood added: "The pressure is on them a lot more, they need to be winning trophies, Liverpool Football Club have demanded that for centuries now. We hope they're a bit edgy and nervy with it."

Sherwood also discussed the future of star striker Christian Benteke, and suggested that he would not hesitate to cash in on the Belgian if he declared his desire to move on this summer.

He said: "He's given no indication that he wants to play elsewhere. If he does then we will assess the situation but we want to keep him at the club. You can't force any player. You might as well take the money because you end up without the money or the player if you don't take it."

Sherwood has confirmed Shay Given will start tomorrow.

The veteran keeper turns 39 on Monday and will face the Reds to continue his comeback at the club.

Given made just two league appearances under ex-manager Paul Lambert, although has been Villa's goalkeeper for the cups after losing his regular place to Brad Guzan in 2012.

But Sherwood will put his faith in the Republic of Ireland international.

He said: "Shay plays. Absolutely. He's done nothing wrong Shay, he's a large part of the reason we're in this semi-final.

"He's pushing Brad all the way for that No.1 spot."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph