‘A lot of qualities’ Jota’s Aston Villa thoughts as teammate speaks out on future and our thoughts on Christian Purslow
Here’s your round-up of the latest Aston Villa news and talking points
Jota on Wesley
Aston Villa new boy Jota says fellow summer signing Wesley will be in the goals sooner rather than later.
The Spaniard is relishing his home debut against Bournemouth on Saturday – and reckons the big Brazilian will get off the mark.
Speaking about his new best friend, ex-Blues man Jota said: “He’s a really strong player. He likes to play football, too. He holds onto the ball and knows where to pass it, he has a lot of qualities. He will score a lot of goals.
“Since the first day of pre-season we speak the same language. He speaks very good Spanish and we are very close friends.
“We spend a lot of time together. His English is OK but I think on the pitch we like to play together. I know when he comes to take the ball, I like to pass to him to hold the ball and I make my run, I think we are very happy here and we are very good friends.”
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Ex-captain Ron Vlaar has laid into his former Aston Villa teammates – declaring players were lazy and lacked a hunger to improve.
The Dutchman spent three seasons at Villa Park after then-boss Paul Lambert came calling in 2012 and immediately made him skipper.
Vlaar, now 34, and plying his trade at AZ Alkmaar in Holland, told The Athletic : “I thought when I went to the Premier League, everything would be great, but it just wasn’t like that.
“It was hard there. I was fighting with myself because of the lack of direction and I wanted to see some more of my team-mates trying to improve their game.
“I missed the hunger from those around me to improve. There wasn’t much extra training or effort, and if some of [the players] didn’t play, they were disappointed and their laziness started to show.
“It’s not a coincidence Villa went down because there were no investments towards the end, either. It wasn’t going to change. I wasn’t surprised when Aston Villa were relegated.
“I really thought when I was going to Villa that I was moving to a really professional club, but it wasn’t always that way. I wanted to see some more of my team-mates trying to improve their game. It was really frustrating for me.
‘It wasn’t easy but I absolutely wanted the move’
“I was there with a big goal. I wanted to play well because I wanted to go to the World Cup, and I wanted to help the club move up the league, but it was hard.
McGinn on THAT question
The Scottish midfielder joined Villa in a £2.75million transfer 12 months ago and has since made himself a Holte End hero.
He appeared all set to join boyhood club Celtic but the Hoops couldn’t strike a deal with Hibernian and Villa swooped in to seal a transfer which has been dubbed a bargain by overjoyed supporters.
McGinn has just signed a new five-year contract at Villa Park on significantly increased terms as reward for his excellent performances en route to promotion last season.
And he backed up his epic showings in the Championship with an excellent debut – and goal – in Villa’s 3-1 defeat to Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday.
While Celtic will always have a place in his heart, McGinn’s focus is entirely on Villa.
Tyrone Mings responds to Villa fan’s heartbreaking revelation – READ
He said: “I’m still a Celtic supporter, I was watching the game at the weekend, and I always will be. It will never leave you.
“But I have to focus on doing my best for Aston Villa and whatever comes up in the future we will take it from there.
“I am still a Celtic supporter and the boys here know I harp on about it all the time but I’m fully focused on Villa.”
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Both Villa and Celtic have huge fanbases – but whose support is better? “That’s too hard a question,” said a coy McGinn.
McGinn believes his time at Hibernian – and the fact he’s a Celtic fan – teed him up perfectly for life in the Premier League though.
Every word as Villa chief speaks transfers, spending and owners – READ
“Hibs are on a different scale to Aston Villa but the demands were still the same,” he said. “When you got beat it was like the world was ending.
“Being a Celtic supporter it’s the same thing. If you lose one game. So hopefully that feeling doesn’t come around too often.”
This has caused a lot of reaction!
Aston Villa fans were rightly left feeling a bit emotional at their Premier League return against Spurs at the weekend.
It’s been a long time coming and it symbolizes a new start and fresh hope for all at B6.
It was a big day for another man on the pitch though – Spurs star Kyle Walker-Peters.
Due to injuries, the youngster is one of the Spurs graduates who has been thrust into the first-team.
He admitted at the weekend that he is loving taking his chance even if it is a bit overwhelming at times.
He told the club website: “Honestly, I could have cried on the pitch. It was that sort of emotion as the goal went in.
“When that goal goes in, you just think about everything you have been through to get here; everything I have been through on my journey to getting into the first-team and finally getting more and more opportunities as the gaffer is showing that trust in me.
“And, growing up in Tottenham, I just love the Club, so those moments mean just that little bit extra. You can’t control these emotions, it just happens. Everything just builds up in you, especially in that game.
“In terms of my career, that match was very important to me. I have to prove to the staff here and prove to the fans that I am ready to play in important games, help the team and hopefully be a part of a successful season.”
Jack reveals all
Jack Grealish has dished the dirt on his Aston Villa teammates in a hilarious Sky Sports interview.
The adored captain featured on Soccer AM and revealed everything from Villa’s best dancer, biggest moaner and hard man.
Grealish, who turns 24 next month, also explained how he gets stick for his distinctive hair cut and says assistant manager John Terry hates officiating training games because of non-stop moaning.
The hysterical transcript of the Soccer AM interview can be viewed in full below.
Our view on Christian Purslow’s statement
The brilliant chief executive had crystal-clear answers for everything Vicky Gomersall fired at him – and had a couple of cheeky digs of his own to remind the presenter that the much talked about summer spend was “not find a footballer, bring him to Birmingham and hope he works well for Dean Smith”.
Villa supporters would have been beaming with pride at every second throughout Purslow’s 20-minute appearance. The 55-year-old donned a claret and blue tie and explained everything from transfer policies, scouting networks and the importance of the relationship between chief exec and head coach. It was first-rate.
Purslow, who joined the club in August 2018, once again batted off the lazy Fulham links amid Villa’s so-called £144.5million spend. The Villa Park chief, though, said the figure was £127million up front and stayed classy by not commenting on another club’s policy and, instead, gave a blow-by-blow account of Villa’s “thought out and strategic” process.
JT proves that you never lose it…