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Pires: 'If I keep my focus, I could play until I'm 40'

Robert Pires has not ruled out playing until he is 40 after returning to the Premier League with Aston Villa after a four-year absence.

The former Arsenal player has signed an initial six-month contract with the midlands side at the age of 37.

Pires will go straight into contention for Sunday's game at Blackburn after training with the Gunners for the past two months.

He said: "I like football. It's my passion. If I have the mentality I will go to six months or why not more? Can I play until 40? I think so, yes.

"Every day, every morning, it is difficult. If you are younger, it is easy.

"But, if you have the mentality, it is not a problem."

Pires will be one of the senior figures in contrast to the likes of Barry Bannan, Marc Albrighton and Ciaran Clark who have just broken into the first team under Gerard Houllier.

But he is excited by the pool of young talent at Villa and can see similarities between Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Bannan.

Pires said: "I know in Arsenal they have good reserves but they have very, very good young players here for the future of Aston Villa.


"Bannan and Wilshere are similar. They have good quality and good vision. For Arsenal and Aston Villa this is good news."

Bannan has followed Albrighton and Clark in committing their future to the club by signing a new three-and-a-half-year deal.

It followed on from the 20-year-old making his Scotland debut against the Faroe Islands in mid-week.

"Everything this season has been unbelievable," Bannan said. " I could never have imagined it going so well for me. To get the deal is icing on the cake really.

"I knew I was capable of playing the way I have been playing and it was just about getting the chance.

"The new gaffer (Houllier) has come in and really taken to me. I've had chances and I've taken them."

Bannan added: "It's a pleasure to be in and around a club like this.

"I'd sign my life away probably here the way it's going at the moment. It's fantastic."