Thursday media watch [05.09.13 AM]: Kozak/Lambert/Delph in focus
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert reckons he has now got the competitive squad he so desperately craved last season. After 15 months in charge, the Villa boss has finally shaped his own side with the players he believes are right for the club's future. Last term's troubles were partly down to the changes he had to enforce for the long-term good of the club. But now the transitional period is coming to an end - only a selection of players remain from the previous regime - Vila are starting to see the spirit of their boss reflected in the team.
Daily Mirror: New Aston Villa striker Libor Kozak believes he can help make Christian Benteke even better. The 6ft 4in Czech joined Villa on deadline day from Lazio in a £7million deal, and boss Paul Lambert wants him to take the burden off goal-scoring sensation Benteke, who has four goals already this term. Belgian hitman Benteke has scored 22 times in 37 Premier League appearances since arriving from Genk a year ago. Kozak has been very impressed with Benteke and is looking forward to partnering him.
Daily Express: Fabian Delph believes Aston Villa's WAGs are in for a miserable existence over the next 10 days because the team are already bored not playing. With Villa's match against Chelsea rearranged and then the international break, the club's next game is not until Newcastle in the Premier League next Saturday. "A few of the boys will be falling out with the missus," joked Delph.
Birmingham Mail: New Aston Villa striker Libor Kozak believes he can help make Christian Benteke even better. The 6ft 4in Czech joined Villa on deadline day from Lazio in a £7million deal, and boss Paul Lambert wants him to take the burden off goal-scoring sensation Benteke, who has four goals already this term. Belgian hitman Benteke has scored 22 times in 37 Premier League appearances since arriving from Genk a year ago. Kozak has been very impressed with Benteke and is looking forward to partnering him.
Sport Australia: Socceroo Brett Holman has defended his decision to join United Arab Emirates side Al-Nasr ahead of the World Cup in Brazil next year. Holman, who left English Premier League outfit Aston Villa in June, has come under heavy criticism for accepting a contract in the Middle East from ex-Socceroo Robbie Slater. National team coach Holger Osieck also expressed his desire for Australia internationals to seek to ply their trade at the highest level possible. Speaking to News Limited before the Socceroos' friendly against Brazil on Saturday, Holman emphasised that the move was based on the desire for regular match-time before the World Cup.
Daily Telegraph: Stephen Ireland feared he was heading for another year in the wilderness after returning to Aston Villa this summer to discover his locker had been moved out the first-team changing room. Ireland has gone from being nicknamed Superman at Manchester City to being the Invisible Man with Villa and has not played a Premier League game this year, after suffering the deep freeze treatment from Paul Lambert. It has been an excruciating eight months, but it all changed at 1.30pm on Monday afternoon when the Irishman received the phone call that he hopes will lead to a new start. He has now completed a loan move to Stoke City for the season after being thrown a lifeline by Mark Hughes, the manager who helped him emerge as one of the League's most highly-rated young talents in the 2008-09 season at City.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Manchester United need a director of football, according to Damien Comolli. The ex-director of football at Liverpool and Tottenham, believed new United manager David Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward needed more help.
Sky Sports: Germany coach Joachim Low admits he is surprised Real Madrid let Mesut Ozil join Arsenal on transfer deadline day. Midfielder Ozil made the move to north London for £42.4million on Monday to become one of the marquee signings of the summer transfer window.
BBC Sport: New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke says the England team should aim to reach the semi-final of Euro 2020 and win the World Cup in 2022. But in a wide-ranging speech, Dyke warned England may not be able to compete seriously on the world stage without changes in the domestic game.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.