Saturday media watch [18.05.13]: Guzan in focus
Birmingham Mail: Goalkeeper Brad Guzan is the latest Villa player whose impressive rise to prominence this season could be rewarded with a new contract. Paul Lambert persuaded Guzan to re-join the club last season and the U.S. stopper has responded by becoming the club's new No.1.Lambert reckons Guzan's contribution to Villa's Premier League survival has been just as crucial as top scorer Christian Benteke's goals.
Daily Telegraph: Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan is being lined up for a new contract after Paul Lambert insisted the American has proved pivotal in their escape from relegation. Guzan has been named Aston Villa's player of the year after an impressive season, despite conceding 67 goals in the Premier League. Lambert promoted Guzan ahead of last season's No 1 Shay Given and the 28 year-old is now set for an extension on his current deal this summer. Christian Benteke has undoubtedly been vital for Villa in their scramble to safety after 19 league goals but Lambert claims his goalkeeper has been equally important.
Daily Star: Brad Guzan's fairytale rise at Aston Villa will clinch him a new pay deal. The American stopper, 28, has gone from zero to hero at Villa Park in just 12 months. Guzan was released last summer after five years in the shadows, first under Brad Friedel and then Shay Given. He had actually cleared his locker when new boss Paul Lambert invited him back on board. Guzan then ousted Given for the No.1 spot and has played a starring role this season - picking up both the Players' and Supporters' Player of the Year trophies. Lambert is sure the keeper will be rewarded for his heroics - adding that Guzan has been just as important to the team as scoring sensation Christian Benteke.
Daily Express: Paul Lambert says goalkeeper Brad Guzan deserves equal credit with Christian Benteke for keeping Aston Villa in the Premier League. Villa's survival was confirmed last Tuesday after Wigan, their opponents tomorrow, lost 4-1 at Arsenal and were relegated three days after winning the FA Cup at Wembley. Villa's top scorer, Benteke, is being hailed as the saviour for his 19 Premier League goals and will get a new contract out of it. But so will Guzan who, after leaving Villa last summer, was persuaded back by Lambert and made first-choice keeper ahead of the vastly experienced Shay Given. Although Guzan has not kept a clean sheet since December, a run of 26 games, including an 8-0 thumping by Chelsea, he still gets Lambert's vote.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert has challenged Villa to finish the season as high in the Premier League table as possible to reflect the strides they have made in recent months. Remarkably, a final-day victory over relegated Wigan at the DW Stadium tomorrow could lift the claret and blues up to 11th place depending on results elsewhere. There is a sense of relief at the club after Villa's top-flight safety was confirmed earlier this week, but Lambert is demanding his team sign off in style.
BBC Sport: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has begun his plans for next season already by booking a return to his former home in Germany for a pre-season training camp. Villa's Premier League status for the 2013-14 campaign was only secured on Tuesday night when Wigan Athletic lost 4-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. But Lambert, a Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund in 1997, has not wasted time in booking a return trip. Villa, who play this season's final game at relegated FA Cup winners Wigan on Sunday are due to return to training at Bodymoor Heath on July 1 before heading off on their German training camp six days later.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.