Midfielder Gary Gardner has said he's hoping his own career can flourish under the leadership of assistant manager Roy Keane now that he's begun work at Bodymoor Heath.
After weeks of speculation saying that Paul Lambert would make Keane his assistant for the coming campaign, following the still unexplained departures of Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa, the official announcement of his appointment came yesterday, and Keane's playing career and attributes haven't been lost on 22 year old Gardner who has just signed a new two year deal with us.
Speaking to the Official Site Gardner explained that he believed he could learn plenty from the former Manchester United skipper, and he also feels the players will have an immediate respect for our new assistant given what he achieved in the game.
'Roy is someone who really doesn't need an introduction because he has proved what he is all about. He was a hard tackling midfielder, a very vocal player and a great person to have on your side. As a central midfielder myself, it's amazing to have someone like him here and hopefully he can help as much as possible. To have someone like that to listen to and to take on board their advice is a dream.'
With Villa consistently having a strong Republic of Ireland contingent in our ranks, that doesn't change in the current squad, and obviously Keane's connection to former gaffer Martin O'Neill should be a big boost for the Irish lads on our books because they will know regular reports will go back to the international camp depending on how they do for us.
Gardner appreciates this, and has already said that Ciaran Clark has spoke glowingly about Keane's role as No 2 at the Republic and it's really whetted everybody's appetites in terms of the job he can now do with us.
'Ciaran has worked with Roy with the Republic of Ireland and he said he is brilliant. I couldn't pick anyone better to learn from - he is simply a midfield legend with such great passion for the game.'
Passion is the key word there, as it's Keane's passion that has often been his driver for success as well as failure. Many of us think, given reports, that this team don't respond to shouty coaching and need more of the mild, quiet, skills of man management - Keane's associated with shouty coaching to varying degrees of success.
But he will have learnt lots from his own managerial experiences, and I doubt I'm alone in hoping those experiences have guided him to knowing which players needs what...a rocket or an arm...and if they have, then we could well have made the best signing of the summer so far.
If he can pass on only a quarter of his playing desire, will to win and help get back that never say die or I'm tired attitude we saw at the end of Lambert's first season to those under 25, this squad could be twice as good already.
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Manager Tim Sherwood has spoken of his disappointment - and shouldered the blame - for today's one nil loss to Stoke City.
All the stats from Aston Villa (0) vs (1) Stoke, Villa Park, 3/10/15 Att: 33,189
Statistics, damn lies and Aston Villa..
Bit of a mix and match today from manager Tim Sherwood's pre Stoke press conference.
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