Villa v Newcastle: Lambert happy to play Sanchez waiting game
Paul Lambert said he had instant appreciation for Carlos Sanchez in his first training session - but the boss is keeping his options open about the midfield schemer's involvement on Saturday.
Lambert will monitor the 28-year-old's form and fitness in the coming week ahead of the 12.45pm kick-off against Newcastle.
The Villa boss will hope for more of the same ahead of the Magpies game as he saluted The Rock for his initial performance at Bodymoor Heath.
He said: "After training this morning, I think we've got a proper player on our hands.
"I'm pretty sure he'll find his feet pretty quickly. The first time I've seen him close up was this morning and your eyes tell you within a minute - the way he plays the game - that he's going to be a good player.
"He will certainly give everybody a lift.
"Carlos didn't train for two weeks after the World Cup. But he trained today along with the group which didn't play on Saturday and he will train with the rest this week.
"We'll see how he feels on Friday and see how he is.
"We're not expecting miracles right away from him because he's behind on fitness. But I saw enough within five minutes to see that he can play."
Asked whether he could feature against the Magpies, he continued: "It may be a possibility depending on how he feels within himself.
"I'll have a chat with Carlos but the luxury we've got is that we played ever so well on Saturday so he's an added bonus."
Lambert certainly can't wait to get the affable ace up to speed because the boss believes he has a specific role within the group.
He added: "It was well documented we were on the lookout for a defensive midfielder. I watched a lot of games of Carlos to see if he fitted the bill.
"We looked at somewhere I thought we needed strengthening - in the middle of the pitch - and he fitted what we wanted.
"In the Colombian national team a lot of his work went unseen because James Rodriguez and people like that were playing really well.
"But he's vital to the system and he'll be vital here. He'll be a really top player for us.
"He's 28-years-old, not at his prime yet, he's still to hit that. But he's played in big games.
"He's played in the World Cup with extraordinary pressure, playing against great players. You have a guy there who knows the game."
Check out the details about season tickets.