Villa v West Ham: Weimann recalls "beautiful" Hammers debut
Andreas Weimann says he will always look back with joy at the gloriously sunny day when he made his debut for Villa in the win over West Ham.
Then an emerging Young Lion, Weimann replaced playmaker Ashley Young on 86 minutes on the opening day of the 2010-11 season.
Villa were leading 3-0 at that time and boss Kevin MacDonald decided to give Weimann a taste of competitive first-team action, after impressing the previous month with a double in the 2-1 friendly win over Walsall at the Banks's Stadium.
Weimann calls that afternoon "a brilliant day" and says he still remembers it vividly.
He admits he didn't do much in the way of a lasting contribution - not many would in four minutes - but he believes just experiencing the remarkable Villa Park atmosphere set him up for what was to come in the following years.
He said: "That was a brilliant day.
"When you come through the academy, you always dream of playing for the first team. That's your long-term focus.
"To get it on that day against West Ham was so memorable. To win 3-0 made it an even better day.
"All in all, it was a brilliant day.
"The season before, I went on the pre-season tour to Spain - where we won the Peace Cup - but hadn't got into any squads during the season itself.
"I went on pre-season again in Portugal for the Guadiana Cup and then Martin O'Neill left soon after the Valencia friendly match and Kevin MacDonald took over.
"That game against West Ham was the first day of the season and Kev obviously knew a lot of us - lads like Marc and Barry too - and he put faith in us.
"He called me from the bench. We were 3-0 up so in all honesty I was hoping I'd get my chance.
"Kev turned around with a few minutes left and said 'Get ready, you're coming on.'
"There were only a few minutes left but it was still a beautiful moment for me.
"I wasn't really nervous. I was just buzzing, so happy, it was so good. It was amazing.
"I didn't touch the ball that often but when I had it I thought I did well.
"It was more about getting out there on the pitch and experiencing the atmosphere of matchday than doing anything really meaningful.
"It was a perfect afternoon. I got a great reception. I had just turned 19. I was quite young back then.
"So to get that kind of reception made me feel 10 feet tall. To play in front of over 40,000 was just amazing. It was unforgettable really.
"You can't help but recall moments like that - your debut, your first goal, your best goal. It was a great performance overall. We did really well."
While Weimann remembers that Saturday match fondly, he was brought crashing down to earth the following Thursday when he was stretchered off in the away leg of the UEFA Cup game with hometown club Rapid Vienna.
He says that injury - ankle ligament damage which kept him out for five months - also taught him a valuable lesson.
He added: "It just shows how quickly you can go from the highs to the lows in football. It was can happen so quickly. It just shows you can never take anything for granted.
"You always have to keep on an even keel.
"I went from feeling 100% high to 100% low."
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