Paul Robinson has tipped Aston Villa to sign the “excellent” Pepe Reina permanently this summer as he revealed how Tom Heaton loves to have an experienced “older head” as his number two.
The former Spurs goalkeeper, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, insisted Heaton, 31, will be first-choice at Villa Park when he returns from injury.
The England international has been sidelined since New Year’s Day after suffering a knee injury on first return to Turf Moor.
Reina, 37, arrived on loan from AC Milan in January to provide cover for the injured Heaton and has impressed despite registering no clean sheets.
Robinson recalled his days of playing as Heaton’s number two at Burnley, revealing the goalie thrives off having an experienced understudy.
“I think it would be a great signing if he is happy to be number two there,” he told Football Insider.
“If he wants to come back to England and that is where he wants to live, definitely.
“I was Tom Heaton’s number two at Burnley and Tom thrives off having an experienced, older head around. Knowing he is number one having a top-quality goalkeeper with Premier League experience and a younger mentor there who he can bounce things off and become friends with. That was my role at Burnley.
“When Tom is fit he comes back in because before his injury he was outstanding this season. He saved Villa a lot of points and I think they have missed him but I do think Reina is an excellent signing as number two. Certainly, if they stay up.
“You have got to have a number one and a number on stroke two now. That would be a good combination for Villa.”
Reina’s current deal may be affected by new emergency measures FIFA is set to propose that will see restrict player movement until the completion of the 2019/20 campaign, Football Insider understands.