Belfast Telegraph

Sherwood wants Petrov to inspire

Tim Sherwood insists Stiliyan Petrov can inspire Aston Villa's strugglers after adding the ex-captain to his backroom team.

The Villa boss believes Petrov's successful battle with leukaemia will be able to help put their relegation battle in perspective.

Petrov retired in 2013 after being diagnosed with leukaemia in March 2012, although he went into remission in August of that year.

He was involved in the build up to Villa's crucial 2-1 win over West Brom on Tuesday which ended a run of seven straight defeats and took them out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

And Sherwood hopes Petrov, who will help coach the first team, will be able to offer some clarity to his side.

"What Stan Petrov has gone through is life and death," he said, ahead of Saturday's FA Cup quarter final against Albion. "It is life-changing but playing a game of football is not life-changing.

"The players look at him and have a lot of admiration for what he has done as a player at this football club and in his life, what he has come through.

"For what he has been through and what he has given this club over a long period of time, why shouldn't we open our arms up to him?

"I want him to help like I wanted Ledley King at Tottenham to help out.

"There is no point bringing them back to be mascots, you need to bring them back if they can contribute.

"Stan can, he has come through his illness and showed great character.

"I've asked him to relax the players as much as possible. I will try to gain every possible advantage as I can."

The ex-Bulgaria international, 35, made 219 appearances for Villa between 2006 and 2012, scoring 12 goals.

He made a return to the club to help coach the under-21 side in in 2013 but took a step back in the August after finding it too much too soon after his illness.

Sherwood added: "He's well and raring to go. He feels great. It is up to him how much he wants to do but there is always going to be a place for him at this football club as long as I am here.

"He's well respected among the group and I always feel you need to get enough people who know the fabric of the football club around. They have to be contributing and he certainly will be."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph