Confirmed: Villa complete signing of Kieran Richardson
Kieran Richardson acknowledged his excitement about finally joining Villa - 15 years after he might have been signed as an Academy player.
The 29-year-old left back put pen to paper on a two-year deal with a further year's option and, after being reunited with Villa legend Gordon Cowans who continues to coach the U21 development squad, he revealed how close he came to being a Villa youth player at 14.
"The last time I was here I was 14 years old when I was unsigned and the main building here at Bodymoor wasn't here at that time," Richardson recalled.
"It was a small building then in the other corner of the training ground. The place now, of course, has changed a lot, it's really magnificent and I'm delighted to be here.
"It's definitely up there with the best training grounds I've been to. I've been able to catch up with Gordon and that was nice. He's a legend here and it just brought back all the memories.
"Villa Park itself has always been my favourite stadium out of all of the stadiums in which I've played in the Premier League. It's got great atmosphere, the fans are magnificent and I'm really looking forward to playing here. I know I'm going to love it."
Paul Lambert believes that Richardson's pace, versatility and experience will be a welcome addition to the squad.
"Kieran will complement many of the players here well with what he brings," said the Villa manager.
"He will add pace, a great deal of experience and he knows the Barclays Premier League. He's played a lot of games for a lad who has yet to turn 30.
"The grounding he gained at Manchester United has stood him in good stead and he knows what it is to compete in this league and to win things and that's important. I'm delighted he's joined us and we're really looking forward to working with him."
Richardson will be reunited with assistant manager Roy Keane, who brought him to Sunderland while he was manager at the Stadium of Light.
"Roy is top-drawer, outstanding as a player and excellent at man-management. He tells you how it is which is good for players and I'm delighted to be working with him again," Richardson added.
"I'm looking forward to working with the manager, too. He wants to play attacking football, he wants the team going forward and that's great. I haven't worked with him before, so I'm excited to start working with him now.
"I know a lot of the players from playing against them over the years, the likes of Darren Bent, Alan Hutton, Joe Cole. I know quite a lot of them as people so I should settle in quite well.
"Benty I've known a long while, since we were about 15, so that will be good. Obviously, I've known Joe a long time. At West Ham I was a bit younger than Joe and as a kid I used to look up to him. He's gone on to have a great career, so playing with him again here will be great.
"Joe's only 32, so he's still got plenty to contribute. He has all that experience and he's a top, top player with so much ability. He'll bring a lot to the side, helping the younger players and passing along all of the experience that he's acquired over the years to them.
"Philippe Senderos is another player I know, a top pro and a really good centre half who always gives 100 per cent. He's played at a very high level and you know what sort of a player he is given the clubs he's played for.
"But I'm looking forward to meeting players I don't know as well, such as Ron Vlaar.
"The captain has had a great World Cup and I've been very impressed.
"I've played against him before in a number of games and he has been a stand-out figure for Villa at the back. At the World Cup he's played great and he can come back and carry that on.
"Playing in the World Cup will have really boosted his confidence, especially when he played so well.
"For myself, I'm happy wherever I'm playing on the pitch, whether that's left back, left wing or centre midfield, even behind the striker.
"I'm happy to play wherever I'm needed. I've played in most positions - sometimes that can be a curse, sometimes that can be a good thing, but hopefully I can nail down a position here at the club.
"There's a lot of people fighting for positions which is healthy for the club. I'm really going to enjoy the challenge."
Richardson signed for Manchester United as a 17 year old from West Ham United.
He made 81 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils, scoring 11 goals, and was part of the squad that won the Premier League title in 2006-07 and the League Cup in 2005-06.
He had a loan spell with West Bromwich Albion during his time at Old Trafford, playing a central part in keeping the Baggies in the Premier League in 2005.
He moved to Sunderland in July 2007 to link up with former teammate, and current Villa assistant manager, Keane, who was manager at the Stadium of Light.
He stayed on Wearside for five years, making 149 appearances in all competitions and scoring 15 goals, before moving back to London with Fulham in August 2012.
He made 48 appearances for the Cottagers, scoring six times.
Richardson has earned eight England caps, scoring twice on his debut against the USA - the second set up by new Villa team-mate Joe Cole.
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