Ilori can be Villa’s Emre Can – Sherwood

Date published: Friday 11th September 2015 9:43 - James Marshment

Tiago Ilori of Portugal controls the ball during the UEFA Under21 European Championship 2015 match between Italy and Portugal at Mestsky Fotbalovy Stadium

Tim Sherwood has likened Aston Villa’s recent loan signing Tiago Ilori to a player from the Portuguese defender’s parent club Liverpool – Emre Can.

Ilori, a deadline day loan signing for Villa, is recognised mainly as a centre-half both at club level and in his international youth career with Portugal.

Aston Villa boss Sherwood believes Ilori is more than capable in a number of positions however, and could develop to be an integral part of his side.

“Tiago is a player I have known since he’s been at the academy at Sporting Lisbon. He’s a player I have known for a long time,” he told the club’s official website.

“I wouldn’t have taken him on loan if there wasn’t an opportunity to buy him at the end of it. I am not interested in developing players for other clubs. I am interested in developing for ourselves.

“If he becomes what I think he can be, he’s a good buy at the money we’re talking about.

“He’s quick and elegant. He’s played in four different countries, when you include England. He’s had a good rounded development. He’s very composed on the ball and versatile.

“He can play right-back, centre-back and I see him playing holding midfield as well.

“He’s a development project and someone I am very excited to work with.”

Sherwood believes a comparison with Germany international Can is pertinent, considering the Liverpool star has reprised a number of different positions at Anfield.

He added, of 22-year-old Ilori: “I see him like an Emre Can. He’s been successful playing in every position. A lot of people say that if you don’t nail down one position, it’s detrimental to your career. I don’t believe that. I believe it gives you the chance to play more minutes.

“I think he could be an exceptional player. He’s not there yet. But he’s in the right place.”

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