Belfast Telegraph

Vlaar urges Van Persie to stay

Ron Vlaar has urged Robin van Persie not to quit the Premier League after admitting it was his fellow Dutchman who helped him decide to move to England.

Vlaar was finally unveiled on Friday as new Villa manager Paul Lambert's fourth summer signing, the centre-back penning a three-year contract to complete his move from Feyenoord for a fee believed to be around £3million.

The 27-year-old confirmed sounding out several of his international team-mates, including Van Persie, during Euro 2012 and said of his compatriot: "I really don't know where he is going. I haven't talked to him lately. I just hope he stays in England so I can face him. I've trained against him with the national team and he is a great player."

He added: "It would be a big loss if he leaves England. I talked to Robin and several other players during the Euros. Robin told me if I had the chance then to come over, but it was still my decision and I'm very happy Aston Villa came in for me. I'm happy the deal was done.

"I also talked to Karim (El Ahmadi, also signed by Lambert from Feyenoord) and they all said the Premier League would really suit me."

Vlaar can expect to make his Villa debut in a pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest on Saturday. His presence has become crucial given Villa this week sold James Collins to West Ham and with Richard Dunne sidelined for six to eight weeks with a groin injury.

Vlaar, though, at least feels Lambert can drive the club forward this season following the disappointment of last campaign under Alex McLeish. Villa finished a miserable 15th, two points above the relegation zone, resulting in McLeish's sacking and Lambert's arrival from Norwich.

In conducting talks with Lambert, Vlaar came to appreciate the type of man he will be working for this season.

"It's about the way he wants to play football," said Vlaar. "I don't know what he was like as a player, but throughout my conversations with him I could see the mentality he has. 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."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph