Laursen Blog: Delph/Vlaar crucial to Villa progress
Former skipper Martin Laursen on the big talking points.
22nd Nov 2013
Laursen Blog: Delph/Vlaar crucial to Villa progress

First up, I have to say that Fabian Delph has been a joy to watch this season.

He is not the biggest player in the squad but he is quick, gets up and down the pitch and works so hard. He has a great left foot too.

He covers so much ground and has been just fantastic.

From the start of the season his presence has been so clear because of the way he plays.

People say Fabian trains exactly the way he plays. I can imagine that.

He is another player who has spent a lot of time injured. I remember a couple of years ago seeing him at the airport, with physio Alan Smith, when he was on his way to America for surgery.

I can tell from his performances that he is just so happy and grateful to be playing regularly again.

He has got that extra energy that comes when you are back playing after long spells away from the game.

He enjoys every game like I did when I was fit after a big injury. That feeling is really special.


I have been delighted with Villa's solidity this season.

They have had four shutouts in the Premier League already this term and it definitely gives the team confidence throughout the pitch.

Ron Vlaar's form has been crucial to this. He is a very important leader for Aston Villa.

The captain has been excellent so far this term and I believe Villa really need his experience.

It is really important that he is fit because Villa are a much better team with him in the line-up.

Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker have improved massively and will continue to do so because of the number of games they have played.

Both are very good defenders but it helps them a lot when Vlaar is alongside them.

Ciaran and Nathan have come a long way. I can only speak from my own career, where I made a lot more errors when I was younger than I did during my time at Villa when I was at the top of my game.

You become more experienced and are able to handle certain situations without panicking because you've been there before. You feel sure of your own qualities.

I also remember when I was younger and just getting into top level football, it was great to have experienced players alongside me.

They helped in certain situations because I was only focused on my own job and didn't have the nous and experience to focus on the rest of the game.

But that comes with time and then you start to pass it on to others too.

Ron Vlaar is at that stage now. He has played a lot of games and is a member of the Dutch national team. That is why he is so pivotal.


I'm hoping to come over to Bodymoor Heath and speak with my compatriot Jores Okore in the near future.

I really feel for him and, of course, I know how he feels having been in his situation.

But the main thing I can say to him about his injury lay-off is look for positives.

I remember my first long-term injury at Villa which kept me out of action for a year.

Although it was a tough time, it gave me that goal to come back stronger than before.

If you have the right frame of mind during rehab, everything will turn out well.

Jores is only young and has lots of time to come back strongly and build on the good start he has had to his career. I'd tell him to be positive and work hard.

Being patient is also very important. I've seen a lot of young players that do too much because they are eager to come back, then they break down again.

I've had that problem too when I wanted to come back earlier.

People want to see Jores back in action because he started the season well and they want to see him play again.

Players do feel that pressure in a way. But he needs to take his time.

Then, when he is ready, he will come back and prove he is stronger than before.

Christian Benteke, Ron Vlaar and Brad Guzan are all on course to go to the World Cup with their national teams - and I feel this can be a positive for Paul Lambert.

These players know that they have got to keep playing well and stay in good shape because they potentially have such a great opportunity coming up.

That is always a great thing for a footballer to have - a reward or a goal in the near future.

For those players to go to Brazil to participate in a World Cup, it would be amazing.

It is something they'll do everything they can to be part of. It will be something they are thinking about during the remainder of the season.

They need to prepare well and keep up their performance levels if they want to be selected for the World Cup.

It is good for a footballer to have something like that in the near future to think about because it keeps you on your toes.


There's another big derby in store at The Hawthorns on Monday.

It goes without saying how special these games are.

As a player you can feel it is a different type of match because of the atmosphere and because of the importance to the fans. You can definitely see the difference.

But you still have to remember that you are playing for three points.

It is a big game for Villa because, aside from the rivalry with West Brom, we want to see the team continue their improvement and push towards the top 10 in the Premier League.

But a small step towards that aim is making sure Villa are the top team in the region again. That's the way it should be.

martin laursen,
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