Belfast Telegraph

Vlaar impressed by Lambert

New Aston Villa signing Ron Vlaar has no doubts that manager Paul Lambert can drive the club forward this season.

Vlaar was finally unveiled on Friday as Lambert's fourth capture of the summer following his arrival from Norwich to replace former boss Alex McLeish, who was sacked at the end of last season.

After completing his move from Feyenoord for a fee believed to be around £3million, centre-back Vlaar can now appreciate why Villa sought the Scotsman's services, saying: "It's about the way he wants to play football. I don't know what he was like as a player, but throughout my conversations with him I could see the mentality he has."

He added: "Mentally you have to be very strong, which is very important for the team, and I feel he can achieve a great deal. I know what he did at Norwich was great. He has a lot of qualities, and as a group we have to listen and learn, improve every day, and I believe we can do that.

"Villa has a strong manager going forward into the new season."

Holland international Vlaar captained Feyenoord to second in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, and with it a shot at qualifying for the lucrative group stages of the Champions League. Although giving up a chance of playing in the competition, Vlaar felt he had to make the step up to the Premier League to further enhance his career.

Asked whether he saw the Premier League as more prestigious than the Champions League at this stage, he replied: "Yes because the Premier League is a dream for me. The opponents are better than what I've been used to in Holland. It's better for me to play at a higher level each week.

"Physically the Premier League is also better than the Dutch league, and the speed is much quicker. I've already seen that in practice and is something I have to get used to, but it will be no problem.

"I want to become a better player every day, but nobody can do it alone. We have to do it together. The most important thing is to play like a team, and then a lot of things are possible."

With James Collins this week sold to West Ham and Richard Dunne sidelined for six to eight weeks with a groin injury, a lot of pressure will fall on Vlaar's shoulders to lead the defence. The 27-year-old can expect to make his debut in a pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

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