Villa v Stoke: Agbonlahor hails captain Vlaar's leadership skills
Stand-in skipper Gabby Agbonlahor has hailed captain Ron Vlaar's leadership qualities - on and off the pitch.
Agbonlahor says it's a real honour for him to be handed the armband in Vlaar's absence but he'd much rather have the defensive colossus back in the side.
Vlaar is battling to be fit for Stoke this weekend clear after missing matches against Reading and QPR.
Agbonlahor is a big fan of Vlaar because of his defensive dynamism and his encouraging disposition.
He said: "Being captain is a real honour. Being skipper for a team like Villa, whether it's for one game, ten games or one hundred games, it's a special thing. I enjoy doing it.
"I've done it before in the past and whenever I'm called upon to do it now, I'm very happy to.
"But Ron is the skipper and he's done really, really well in the role. He's a top captain.
"He's got everything you need, really. He's always willing to give advice to the lads off the pitch, he's always vocal on the pitch in terms of instructions and encouragement. And he leads by example too.
"He's always one of the very best players on the pitch whenever he plays.
"He's got everything you need really. We're delighted to have him as captain."
If Vlaar doesn't make it for the game against Stoke, Nathan Baker will more than likely keep his place in the side.
And Agbonlahor is confident 'Bakes' will excel against the pugnacious Potters.
He continued: "I have been very impressed with Bakes. Every time he's played in the past for the first team, he seems to have bad luck, injuries and things like that halting his progress. He's never been able to get a run in the team before now.
"But he's a good player and he has a very good attitude. He works hard and gives it 100% every day on the training ground. He trains like he plays, with all his effort behind him. He's done really well.
"He's a real battler out there. He's a good footballer who can certainly play but he's an old-fashioned centre-half too. He's so big and brave. He's up there winning his headers, he's there winning his tackles.
"He has such aggression to his game. Some of the blocks he's made have been tremendous. There have been a few goal-saving ones in there."
Agbonlahor, himself, is relishing the clash with Tony Pulis's men and expects a very difficult encounter.
He added: "It's going to be a tough game, no question. They beat West Brom at their place and everyone knows what a good run West Brom have been on. It's going to be a really tough game.
"They have real quality players in their ranks, the likes of Steven Nzonzi and Charlie Adam for example. They are good players.
"It's going to be a very tough game. But we'll be well prepared. We'll do our research and have a game plan. If we can execute that, we can get a good result. I am sure we will give a good account of ourselves."
Snap up your tickets and back the boys against Stoke.
Go to full match coverage for Aston Villa 0 - 0 Stoke (7th December 2012) >
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