Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood does not plan on handing Liverpool starlet Tiago Ilori a starting role just yet, warning it is too early for the defender to make his debut for the club. Ilori, 22, has failed to make a single appearance for Liverpool since signing for the club in 2013 and joined Villa on a season-long loan on the final day of the summer transfer window, his third spell away from Merseyside.
The London-born Portugal Under-21 international has featured for Villa's Under-21 ranks since joining the club, but will have to wait for his full debut, with Sherwood wary of introducing the player just yet with two huge derbies against West Brom in the Premier League and Birmingham City in the League Cup on the horizon.
"Tiago is not ready," Sherwood said via Aston Villa's official website. "He is a young lad who played in the Under-21 [European] Championships and he has played in his first 90 minutes since then the other evening against Brighton in the Under-21s. It's probably a bit early for him to start coming into the reckoning.
Ilori joined Liverpool for a reported £7m ($10.8m) but left to join La Liga side Granada on loan before making a single appearance for the club. Last season a move to France beckoned, as he spent the campaign on loan at Bordeaux.
While Villa boss Sherwood does not believe the defender is quite ready yet, he is optimistic over his future, insisting he could be an "exceptional player," after confirming the club have the option to make their loan a permanent one.
"If he becomes what I think he can be, he's a good buy at the money we are talking about. He is quick and elegant. He has played in four different countries, when you include England. He's had a good rounded development. He's a development project and someone I am very excited to work with."