Exclusive Feature: Albrighton ready to voice his opinion
Many people make grandiose New Year Resolutions but Marc Albrighton is happy to keep his nice and simple - play more football for Villa.
Albrighton has had a horror time with injuries and illness over the past two years but now he feels like things are on the up for him on a personal level.
Albrighton has been a bright spark in a difficult spell for Paul Lambert's men and the wideman believes there's a lot more to come from him.
His enthusiasm and eagerness are very different to the frustration and disappointment he suffered when he had problem after problem with his fitness - as well as the crippling inability to talk properly.
"At one point I was flying with appearances because I was playing most weeks," he said.
"Then all of a sudden it came to a halt. It would be good to play a lot more now. Hopefully my injuries are behind me and I can concentrate on keeping fit and playing football.
"That's my New Year's resolution - but that was my resolution last year as well and it didn't get me anywhere. It was a nightmare after I was injured against Ipswich in the FA Cup.
"I suddenly started having sore throats and I couldn't shout. It kept getting worse so I saw a specialist and he cut a cyst off my vocal chords. Unfortunately it kept coming back, so I ended up having four operations.
"That's been holding me back but I spoke to the specialist a while ago and he said he was pleased with how the last operation had gone.
"It didn't hurt but I wasn't able to raise my voice, and when you're on a football pitch that's quite important! It affected my confidence as well but hopefully I've put that to bed now.
"The last two years have been frustrating. I was in a bad run of form, and then I picked up injuries, which obviously didn't help.
"Apart from my metatarsals, I've had thigh strains and ankle ligament problems. It's been horrible, but I tried to stay positive and looked forward to being fit again.
"I wasn't going to give up on it. I was always determined to find my form again and get back to where I was a couple of years ago."
Albrighton's comeback has been aided in no small measure by a month on loan to Championship club Wigan Athletic, for whom he played two games and went on as a sub in two others.
That gave him the platform to return to Villa.
"I needed to get my match sharpness back," he said.
"If I wasn't going to be playing here, the only way I could do it was by going out on loan. The manager said I was still in his plans and he told me I should go out and get some games.
"On the day of the open training session at Villa Park, he told me Wigan were keen to take me. I knew Owen Coyle had tried to get me when he was at Bolton so it was good to go to a club where I knew the manager rated me.
"It was good to experience another club. I've been here since I was eight, and as fantastic as it is, you need to see other places and I'm glad I did. Wigan's facilities are not even close to Villa's but I enjoyed my time there and if that has helped me to play more here I'm over the moon. It was well worthwhile going there and I can't thank them enough."
Apart from his debut in Moscow, Albrighton has enjoyed some memorable moments with the club he has supported since childhood.
His goal against United at the Holte End three years ago is the one he treasures most, although he also had the distinction of hitting the Premier League's 20,000th goal against Arsenal 13 months later.
He also scored Villa's Goal of the Season for 2010-11 with his stunning effort at Fulham.
"That goal at Craven Cottage was technically the best I've scored," he said.
"Barry found me with an unbelievable pass, which I controlled and took a touch inside before shooting past Mark Schwarzer.
"I got the award for Villa's goal of the season, but a lot of the credit should go to Barry for that pass.
"I've had some very special moments and some great times here. Hopefully I can have plenty more."
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