Helenius relishing "big opportunity" after sealing Villa move
By Brian Doogan
Paul Lambert believes 6ft 5ins striker Nicklas Helenius will fit perfectly into his Villa revolution as the 22-year-old became his fourth new signing of the summer from Danish club Aalborg BK.
The Denmark international put pen to paper on a three-year deal to 2016 and immediately vowed to fight to realise his Barclays Premier League dream and to be an integral part of Lambert's young, emerging team.
Helenius has played alongside fellow new Villa signing Jores Okore in the Denmark international team and also at Under-21 level and the Villa manager is certain that the big forward who was recognised by UEFA as Danish Superliga player of the season in 2012-13 will prove to be a big hit with the Club's fanbase in the years ahead.
"Nicklas is a young lad but also a full international with a good goalscoring record in Denmark and he'll prove himself in the Premier League," Lambert said.
"The opportunity will be there for him, as it will be for the rest of the lads, and he has all the attributes to go and take it.
"He wants to go and make a name and a career for himself and he's made a good start at Aalborg. It's a case of continuing to work hard and building on that and I believe he can.
"He's a good player and the potential is there for him to grow into the team and grow with the team. He'll definitely be able to give the team a hand."
Helenius scored 16 goals in 33 league appearances last season and also made seven assists. In the 2011-12 season he scored 13 goals in 32 league games and for the past two seasons finished runner-up in the Superliga's Golden Boot award.
He has played twice for Denmark and has played three times for the Danish League XI, a team selected from the best players in the Danish Superliga. He has also been capped 11 times at Under-21 level, scoring four goals.
"This is a big opportunity for me, a big dream to play in the Premier League with a club with the history of Aston Villa and I'm very excited," Helenius said.
"I know we have a young team and I know we came through a test last season and got better as a team over the course of the campaign. I watched the game against Liverpool at Anfield and was very impressed by the way the team played. As we got more confidence in the game, we became better and better and won 3-1 with some great attacking football.
"In Gabby Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann, for example, we have good players who have great speed and energy and a real love for playing for Villa. You can see this and you can also see the strength and quality of Christian Benteke. It is really exciting to be a part of this and I'm looking forward so much to pulling on the shirt and getting to know my new team-mates.
"I've been to see the stadium and it's tremendous. The atmosphere inside Villa Park can be incredible, I know this from watching games on TV from Denmark where the Premier League, obviously, is really big. I've watched Premier League football since I was eight years old.
"I was so inspired that I used to go by myself to an empty ground in my home town of Godthaab - a town of 900 people - and just kick the ball around, practise the skills and shoot. That was my whole life growing up.
"I learnt a lot over the past few seasons with Kent Nielsen as my manager. He was a player here at Villa and, while I have always been a good finisher, he taught me to be more aggressive and determined when I don't have the ball. He showed me how to work hard and this will help me in this league.
"I thought that maybe when I was 28 or something I might eventually be able to move to the Premier League having made my mark in Danish football but now I have my chance and I think this is the right club for me with all the other young players in the side who want to do well and achieve something together.
"I want to show the fans that I'm hungry for this and that I'm very proud to be a Villa player."
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