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February 14, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Aston Villa hired Tim Sherwood as its new manager on Saturday, three days after firing Paul Lambert with the club in the relegation zone in the English Premier League.

Sherwood, who lasted just five months at Tottenham last season in his first management job, signed a contract through the end of the 2017-18 season.

"While being forever conscious of the frustrations that we all suffer," Villa's American owner, Randy Lerner, said, "we feel that a change that offers a positive, fresh approach will be very good for the club."

Villa described the 46-year-old Sherwood as "one of English football's most highly sought-after managers," and the Englishman had been linked with a host of clubs since leaving Spurs in May.

"It is a great honor to manage one of the biggest clubs in English football," Sherwood said.

Villa dropped into the league's bottom three after a 2-0 loss at Hull on Tuesday — its fifth straight defeat. Lambert was sacked less than 24 hours later.

Sherwood's most pressing concern will be addressing the team's dreadful scoring record, having netted just 12 goals in 25 league matches — easily the worst record in all four of England's divisions.

Sherwood guided Tottenham to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League in his short time in charge, which was marked by outspokenness about his own players and the club's fans. During his final match in charge — a 3-0 victory over Villa — Sherwood plucked a heckling supporter from the crowd, handed him his sleeveless jacket and sat him down in the manager's chair.

Sherwood, a central midfielder in his playing career when he was a league winner with Blackburn, previously spent five years on the coaching staff with the London club.

"Tim had a fantastic career at Tottenham, not only in his brief spell as first-team manager but, just as importantly, in the role he played in developing young talent," Villa chief executive Tom Fox said.

"We are determined to build a football operation with a long-term vision and a commitment to youth development. We strongly believe Tim has the qualities to get the best out of our current squad and help us build and develop for the future."

Villa has never been out of the Premier League since the division's inception in 1992.

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