Gabby salutes Pires capture

Published Nov. 25, 2010 6:15 p.m. ET

Agbonlahor watched in awe as a Gunners side boasting the talents of Pires went unbeaten through the 2003/04 Premier League season, and will take pleasure from being in the same side as the 37-year-old at Villa Park on Saturday. Agbonlahor said: "I remembering watching Arsenal as a kid growing up - the 'Invincibles' era. "It will be great to line up with him, knowing what he has achieved in his career. "He will get a lot of respect from the lads too. "He won't be as quick as he was a few years ago but he'll still have that eye for goal and that eye for a pass which will cause problems for opposition defences. "That quality never leaves you. He will bring a lot to the side. Our younger squad will benefit." Agbonlahor backed manager Gerard Houllier's decision to recruit Pires, who made his Villa debut as a late substitute against Blackburn last weekend after arriving on a free transfer. "Everyone is still shocked that Robert has joined Villa," said Agbonlahor. "He is a player of immense quality. "It is a pleasure to train with him, never mind play with him." Pires played an hour for the reserves against West Brom on Monday and Houllier has confirmed the midfielder will be part of his 18-man matchday squad for the encounter with Arsenal.