Blog: Buoyant Beye 'smiles' better as new season approaches
Paul Brown blogs on happy Habib Beye.
5th Aug 2011
Blog: Buoyant Beye 'smiles' better as new season approaches

The contrast in emotions could not have been greater.

Habib Beye sat down in the players lounge at Bodymoor Heath as he looked forward with relish to the new campaign in claret and blue.

Grinning widely, the 33-year-old spoke about his determination to be there for Alex McLeish if and when he's needed to make a big impact in the team.

Rewind almost one year and Beye was a shadow of himself.

The versatile defender had just played at left-back for Villa, been at fault for two of the goals against Rapid and seen his team dumped out of the Europa League.

Speaking to AVTV, he not only gave an honest appraisal of his performance, he appeared to be a man in pieces.

It wasn't what he said, it was the way he said it.

Unable to look up at the camera, his head was on his chest as his voice crackled with emotion.

But the Beye I chatted to on the eve of the season was at peace with himself and at his usual jovial self.

An incredibly popular lad in the dressing room because of his laid-back character, his positivity about Villa this season shone through.

We began the interview by discussing that night against Rapid.

He said: "I really care about my performances. It hurt that night. I always want to do my best for the team and the lads.

"When you're not at your best, you know it and you work even harder to get better. That's what I have been doing. Now it's a new season with a new manager. I am looking forward to the challenges ahead.

"It's a fresh start for everyone. If I get my chance, I will take it. If the manager needs me, I will be here.

"I always work hard in training and I want to give my all for the cause. I want to show the manager what I am able to do."

While he's eager to make up for lost time and have a real impact this term, Beye is adamant that the team comes first.

This attitude was more than apparent in his post-match piece after Rapid.

Obviously gutted with his own performance, it was clearly the impact on the rest of the lads that hurt more.

Beye is clearly interested in the collective.

He continued: "It's not about me. As a professional, you want to play week-in and week-out but sometimes you can't.

"If you don't play every game, you're still part of the team and the squad. We're all in it together. It's about everyone.

"It's not about individuals, it's about the entire squad. That's what matters.

"Of course you want to shine as a player because you're a professional and you're always looking to show your very best but it's about team work and being a close unit.

"The manager wants us to work as a team. It's not about 11 players. It's about 20-25 players. It's about all of us for the whole season.

"You will have injuries and you have to use the entire squad.

"We're all really happy. We are working hard together to be ready for the start of the season. The manager said he wants togetherness, for everyone to enjoy themselves and work hard. That's what he wants.

"We're getting ready now for the start of the season. The manager is happy because he can see we are working really hard. We are looking forward to a good season together."

Beye struggled to make an impact under former boss Gerard Houllier and the reliable right-back is eager to show new boss Alex McLeish what he can do.

Clearly not in Houllier's plans, Beye is thrilled to be involved again.

He continued: "Yes I am excited. When you have a holiday it's good but you're always itching to come back to football.

"The break is great but you're always eager to get back, see the lads and start training again.

"Football is not just a game, it's your passion. The holidays are good but you want to come back and work really hard. Everything is perfect now."

Beye knows he has a tough challenge on his hands to earn the right-back berth, with his path blocked by experienced Luke Young and rookie Eric Lichaj.

But Beye is enjoying the competition for places.

He added: "It's about showing your quality and impressing the manager so he picks you at the weekend. He will take his decision and you respect it.

"Me and Luke have been here together, we have a good relationship. Eric has come through the ranks brilliantly. He's a good player too.

"That's what makes football exciting - the competition for places. That's what makes you go forward."

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