Image alt text here

Defender Bennett completes move to Villa on four-year deal

AVTV signing exclusive: Bennett excited by new Villa adventure Pictures: Behind the scenes on Bennett's first day at Villa
Defender Bennett completes move to Villa on four-year deal

Paul Lambert is convinced that Joe Bennett will "thrive and fit in exactly with what we are trying to build here" as the England U21 international defender completed a four-year deal which will secure his future at Aston Villa to the end of the 2015-16 season.

Bennett's capture from Middlesbrough has increased the number of signings made by the club in this transfer window to six, following on from fellow defenders Ron Vlaar and Matt Lowton, midfield general Karim El Ahmadi and wide man Brett Holman, along with goalkeeper Brad Guzan who re-signed following four years previously at Villa Park.

The 22-year-old left-back has been lauded by Boro boss Tony Mowbray for his "quality, speed and technique" and for Lambert his youthful enthusiasm, desire and energy proved compelling.

"Joe's a really good player, young and hungry to succeed and he's exactly the type of player we want here at the football club," said Villa boss Lambert.

"There's no doubt in my mind that he will thrive in this environment and he fits in exactly with what we are trying to build here.

"His energy level is really high and he can get up and down the pitch really well, which will be important for the team and important in terms of how we want to play as a team.

"He's an exciting signing for the club and I'm really pleased we've been able to take him here."

Bennett started 84 games in all competitions for Middlesbrough, appearing on eight more occasions as a substitute and scoring one goal after graduating from youth level at the Riverside and signing his first pro contract in summer 2008.

He was an ever-present for Mowbray's men in 2011-12, playing in 45 matches in all competitions and completing 41 appearances in the Championship.

In 2010-11 he was voted the club's player of the year and young player of the year when he played in 31 Championship games and 33 in all competitions, while his performances last season earned him the North East Football Writers' Association's young player of the year accolade.

"I am really excited to have joined a massive club in Aston Villa and I'm eager to fight for a starting place and get in the team," Bennett said.

"It's up to the manager to pick the team, of course, but it would be great to go back to the north east this weekend and make my debut against Newcastle at St James's Park.

"When I first heard about the move a lot of things ran through my head. There was excitement and nerves and most of all a real buzz about the prospect of coming to Villa and playing in the Premier League.

"Now that it's come around so fast, I'm just raring to go. I've had a look around the stadium and the training ground and the facilities are top-class. You can tell straight away this is a massive club.

"I know a few of the players from England U21s, the likes of Nathan Delfouneso and Nathan Baker and that will help in terms of settling in. I'm looking forward to it.

"My approach has always been to get forward and try to create things. In my opinion Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy are the best full backs around and if I keep working on my game and improving it I know I can succeed at this level and help the team.

"It was not long ago that I was given my professional debut at Middlesbrough by Gareth Southgate and it is a real privilege to now follow in his footsteps and join a club with Villa's heritage.

"I am very grateful to get this opportunity and I'm very grateful to the Middlesbrough chairman, Mr. Gibson, all of the Middlesbrough staff and fans and, particularly, Tony Mowbray for giving me the opportunity to prove my ability.

"I am fully focused now on my career here at Villa and I'm really eager to get started.

"My priority will be to impress the manager and gain a place in the starting XI. It will be a special moment when I pull on the claret and blue shirt for the first time.

"I'm determined to earn the respect of my team-mates and the Aston Villa supporters. I know it's going to be really exciting here in the years ahead and I really want to play my part."

Click here to buy tickets for the Swansea clash.


AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 29th August 2012