Monday media watch [18.08.14 AM]: Stoke press reaction
Birmingham Mail: Alan Hutton had two reasons to be happy after Villa beat Stoke on Saturday. Firstly, his first competitive minutes under Paul Lambert were a success. Secondly, the team he wants to help fire up the league this season wrote off all their early-season doubters with an excellent away win. Speaking with a smile on his face for his second successive interview, Hutton said: "Everybody wrote us off coming to Stoke. But I think we have proved a lot of people wrong."
Daily Express: Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton came in from the cold to help Villa make a winning start on a day he admitted he thought would never come. Hutton had not played for the club in two years and had never been picked by manager Paul Lambert due to financial constraints at Villa Park. Like some of the club's other top earners, including Darren Bent and Shay Given, the Scotland international was pushed towards the exit door and spent time on loan at Nottingham Forest, Mallorca and Bolton. But with no permanent move forthcoming and Villa owner Randy Lerner changing tack while he looks to sell the club, Hutton was brought back into the fold. And the 29-year-old responded with a rock-solid display at right-back on what he described as his "second debut" as Villa punctured Stoke's pre-season optimism in clinical style.
Daily Star: Alan Hutton has been part of Aston Villa's "bomb squad" for two years - but now he plans to grab the chance to explode back onto the Premier League stage. The Scottish international defender was one of a group of high earning players frozen out by boss Paul Lambert when he took charge. Under orders from chairman Randy Lerner to slash the wage bill he axed Hutton from first team plans along with other experienced stars including Shay Given and Darren Bent. But after failing to find anybody to take on Hutton's £35,000 a week pay packet Lerner has now instructed Lambert to bring him and other exiles back into his thinking. And the impact was immediate as both players starred to help Villa kick off the campaign with three points thanks to Andi Weimann's second half goal. Hutton could have become bitter, but instead is determined only to look forward and kick his Premier League career back into life.
Independent: Each of Aston Villa's three newcomers enjoyed excellent first performances for the club but it was the "second debut" of Alan Hutton that might just epitomise the potential turnaround the club can now envisage. While Philippe Senderos, Aly Cissokho and Kieran Richardson competed for man-of-the-match honours with their commitment and defensive dedication, the Scotland right-back contributed just as much to helping shut out Stoke City and so bring Villa their first away win since New Year's Day. Hutton has been among the high earners frozen out as Villa attempted to curtail expenditure. But, with the club up for sale, owner Randy Lerner's attentions have reverted to the needs of today rather than hopes for tomorrow.
Daily Mirror: 'Bomb squad' member Alan Hutton exploded back into action and admitted he feared his Aston Villa career was over. Hutton was exiled two years ago when Villa owner Randy Lerner 'bombed' him out and the club's other top earners to cut costs. The defender could not train with the first team and went on loan to Nottingham Forest, Real Mallorca and Bolton before Lerner allowed boss Paul Lambert to bring them back into the fold this summer. Hutton made his first competitive Villa start since May 2012 on Saturday, and his debut under Lambert, to help them make a winning start to the campaign. "I didn't see this happening," said the right-back, who continued to be picked by Scotland during his two years in the wilderness. "You need to respect the decisions, which come from high above. It's one of those things, it's football and it happens. "Because it was beyond my control, there was nothing much I could do about it. The only thing I could do was come in and train every day, keep going and that's what I did. In my contact and meetings with the manager, there was never anything bad between us. It was just a situation we were in and there was nothing we could do about it. "We had a word before pre-season that I would be involved. I was obviously happy. I came back, had a full pre-season and was ready to go."
Telegraph: For the past two years Alan Hutton has suffered in silence while Aston Villa have struggled against relegation. Paul Lambert, the manager, even admitted last season that Hutton, who had been instructed to train with a bunch of fellow outcasts, had been frozen out due to his high wages. The defender has spent periods on loan at Real Mallorca, Nottingham Forest and Bolton Wanderers in an attempt to jump-start his career. In terms of being out in the cold, it must have felt distinctly arctic for the Scotland international. However, with Randy Lerner, the owner, determined to sell the club, Hutton has been taken out of isolation and given a chance to rebuild his career, which he seized against Stoke City on Saturday. It was his first appearance for Villa since May 2012 and testimony to his character that he produced such a performance after so long in the wilderness. "I didn't see this happening, to be honest. It's been difficult and I'm not one of those players who's just happy sitting there," he said. "Football is also a business and you need to respect the decisions which come from high above. Because it was beyond my control, there was nothing much I could do about it. The only thing I could do was come in and train every day, keep going and keep my head up and that's what I did. "I've got a family behind me, who supported me all the way, and that was really a plus. It's a clean slate for everybody and you have to show that you can take your chance when it comes."
Guardian: Alan Hutton's impressive first competitive game for Paul Lambert after two years in the wilderness could point to a turnaround in Aston Villa's fortunes. The Scotland right-back was one of the "bomb squad" whom Lambert agreed to leave out since taking over in the summer of 2012 as Villa looked to cut costs and build a lean and hungry line-up for the longer term. But the trouble with long-term plans is when they do not work in the short term. Having failed to lever Hutton off the wage bill, and with Villa now making the here and now a priority after chairman Randy Lerner put the club up for sale in May, the manager has gratefully reintegrated the 29-year-old into a new, far more experienced defensive unit. Capitalising on Andreas Weimann's goal early in the second half, Ron Vlaar, the only survivor of last season's back four, continued where he left off in helping Holland finish third in the World Cup and his final-whistle embrace with Philippe Senderos, equally impressive alongside him on his debut, as Lambert's team sealed their first clean sheet away from home since February, reflected the determination to make Villa sturdy again. Aly Cissokho, surely a different left-back from the wobbly performer last seen on loan at Liverpool, completed a resolute rearguard action.
Birmingham Mail: Villa boss Paul Lambert has thanked Randy Lerner for his financial backing as he chases two more signings in the next fortnight. The owner sanctioned the deal to bring in Carlos Sanchez on Friday and is expected to free up more funds before August 31. If Lambert can sign the two targets he is after, he feels he will be fully equipped for the rest of the campaign.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Striker Daniel Sturridge says Liverpool are stronger this season despite an unconvincing start to life without last year's top scorer Luis Suarez. The Reds required a 79th-minute winner by Sturridge to overcome a determined Southampton side 2-1 at Anfield.
Sky Sports: QPR boss Harry Redknapp says he is hoping to acquire two midfielders and a striker before the transfer window closes. Redknapp's men are back in the Premier League after winning the Championship play-off final last spring but lost 1-0 to Hull in their season-opener at Loftus Road.
BBC Sport: Manchester United's Wayne Rooney has labelled last season's seventh-place finish a "disaster" - but says new boss Louis van Gaal will set things right. United, who won six friendlies under Van Gaal in pre-season, began their Premier League campaign with a 2-1 home defeat by Swansea on Saturday.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.