Bennett: I have huge motivation to succeed here at Villa
Joe Bennett is thoroughly determined to succeed at Villa and says the competition for places at left-back is just an added motivation.
Bennett admits his claret and blue career to date has been a "rollercoaster", with injury hampering his progress since an August 2012 move from Middlesbrough.
This season, he has been out with serious back and knee problems but has returned to the side over the past few weeks, playing a part against West Ham, Cardiff City, Newcastle, Chelsea and Fulham.
He feels confident now, helped in big part by the standing ovation he received after coming off in the latter stages of the 1-0 win over Jose Mourinho's Blues.
And he's eager to prove himself even further in the coming weeks, months and years ahead.
He said: "It was an exciting first season for me. There were highs and lows. It was a rollercoaster.
"It took me longer than I thought to adapt to the Premier League from the Championship.
"But we all got a great satisfaction from keeping the team up last time and I played quite a few games in the run-in. Now it's about finishing this season well.
"Personally, I am feeling good.
"I have had a tough season to date with injuries. I had a really bad back - I was out for three months with that - and then I came back and I had tendinitis in my knee.
"That was really frustrating and disappointing. But I am fully fit now and looking to stay in the team.
"There's great competition at left-back, with Antonio and Ryan coming in. It's made me more determined to succeed here.
"That competition is something to thrive on. You have to see it as a challenge - and a challenge you want to succeed with.
"I have real motivation to do well here at Villa. Competition brings out the very best in you. It pushes you on, no doubt.
"With the left-back position, you know that when you get a game you absolutely have to perform. There's no leeway there. There's two lads there - two really good players - who want desperately to play.
"I knuckle down hard in training - I am totally focused - and try to impress the manager - and the fans on a matchday.
"People must remember that this is only my second full season in the Barclays Premier League - and I have had quite a bit of time out with various injuries in both campaigns.
"No-one has seen my full capabilities. I have a lot more to offer. There's much, much more to come from me.
"But I have to show that. There's only me who can prove myself. I feel I am getting better with every passing week, though.
"I am still learning too. I have still got a big progress to make. But I am confident I can get there.
"The ovation I got when I came off against Chelsea gave me a big boost. It was really good from the fans to give that to me. They are an unbelievable support.
"Hopefully I can keep impressing them with more good performances in the closing weeks of the season."
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