Home > Football, Hot topic > Is Pires too old for The Premier League ??

Is Pires too old for The Premier League ??


The imminent signing of Robert Pires will raise eyebrows amongst many football followers. The age of Pires, 37, will bring potential criticism towards Gerrard Houllier if this doesn’t prove to be a useful signing.

All managers like to make a statement with their first signing when they arrive at a new club. With the transfer window closed this provides an opportunity for Villa to obtain a signing when all other clubs cannot do likewise.

Pires has been without a club since the summer since his release from Villarreal so it will be interesting to see what his level of fitness will be like. I know too well that as you get older it is much harder to achieve the same high level of fitness as in previous years. His match fitness will be even tougher to rediscover. The longer you go without competitive football, the longer it takes to be properly match fit. Although he may have been ‘ticking over’ since the summer, the high intensity of The Premier League is a long way from anything he has been used to during the last few months.

His ability though is unquestionable. He brought a huge amount of class to The Premier League during his Arsenal days. I’m sure that when he left Arsenal in his early 30’s he thought that he was winding down for a year or two in Spain. Now, at 37 though, it seems that he still has something left in the tank. Gerrard Houllier would not be signing him if this was not the case and I’m sure that Pires himself would not want to ruin his reputation if he thought he wasn’t up to it.

Myself, in my early 30’s signed for Lincoln City. I managed to add another few years onto my career when I thought that it was sharply coming to an end. Sometimes you find a place where it all seems to click for you. Lincoln City was that place for me and Villarreal was that place for Pires  it would seem.

Houllier does have some experience of extending the careers of top players. His current assistant Gary McAllister was brought in at Liverpool and enjoyed a successful end to his illustrious career. 

To play at any level at that age requires a manager who will provide the right conditions. I trained less, was given the occasional extra day off here and there as well as being rested from some matches. This all helps to prolong the career of a pro in his 30’s. The facilities at Premier League level will have all of the right conditions to prevent injury and improve recovery time, all things which an ageing player needs.

So I look forward to seeing if Pires will inspire Villa as he inspired Arsenal in the coming months of the season.



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