We spoke to captain James Chester this week as part of our ‘One on One’ feature series.
Check out his answers to a host of questions below.
Q] What does Aston Villa mean to you?
It means a lot.
It’s been my favourite time in my career.
I have had really good spells elsewhere, certainly at Hull City. But, for myself being at such a huge club and playing so many games, it’s been very special.
It’ll be the proudest part of my career when I finish and look back and reminisce.
Being captain has been a fantastic feeling, too. It’s nice to be among players like Mortimer, Laursen, Mellberg, Petrov – lads like that – who have worn the armband.
To take that next step and to be spoken of in the same breath for this club, I think I’ve got to help the team get promoted, which, to be fair, has been my aim since I arrived here.
I will certainly keep trying and I think we’re in a good position now to challenge for that.
Q] What did you think of JT’s white boots in training on his first day back – and how good has he been as a coach?
They got discarded a lot quicker than I thought they would!
I thought he might have held stronger for a little bit longer.
I wasn’t expecting anything else from JT, if I’m being honest. I did think he was going to stay with them but a bit of peer pressure from the lads won that battle.
In terms of being a coach now, he’s been very impressive. I can’t imagine it being easy – and, playing with quite a few of us last season, probably made that harder.He’s been very good.
It’s great to have him back. He’s working very well and very hard with the gaffer and the other coaches.
Q] Pick one thing you learned from watching JT as captain?
It was more away from the pitch, rather than on it.
It was how much he was concerned – and looked out for – the staff in everyday football life.
He was always checking if the lads were happy, he really looked after things in that way.
He’s all about raising standards and making sure everyone is in a good place across the football club. That impressed me a lot.
Q] Talk us through your nickname ‘Kermit’?
It came from when I was in the youth team at Manchester United.
A few of the lads went to the cinema one night and there was an advert on the big screen before the main film came on and it featured a frog.
They decided it looked like me – and I have adopted him now.
In fact, I’ve got a picture of him on my shinpads.
Q] He’s injured at the moment but how impressed have you been with Axel Tuanzebe this season?
He’s been really impressive.
Last season, he played right-back a lot and also picked up a few injuries so I don’t think we saw the best of him.
But now playing next to him at centre-back, I’ve seen how good he is and how good he can be. He has all the attributes for the modern-day game.
He’s so quick, so powerful, good on the floor, good in the air – very comfortable.
I’ve enjoyed helping him along a little bit, too, as an older pro.
Q] How have you coped with the change in style under Dean Smith?
I think you’ve definitely seen improvement in a short space of time - and I think you’ll see us get even better as we get used, even more, to the gaffer’s ideas and principles.
For me, obviously, I’ve played for different managers with different styles so I’m used to change.
But, as a group and team, we’re enjoying it every day on the training field, we’re progressing - and we’re confident we can get better and better with more time together.
Q] McGinn’s bullet, El Ghazi’s rocket, Hutton’s solo – which was better?
I am controversially going to say that I think Anwar shanked his.
Technically, John’s goal is the best I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live. I was right behind it so I saw the curve perfectly. It was magnificent.
But, for the moment it came in the game and who it was against and the fact it was in front of the Holte End, I’ve got to go for Hutts.
That’s one I’d have liked to score myself so that’s why I’m going for it.
Q] You’ve previously picked Toby Alderweireld as the best player in world football in your position – what’s he do well?
He just never seems to be out of control. He’s always in the right position.
He’s comfortable on the ball and I really enjoy watching him play the game.
Another one of my favourites is Leonardo Bonucci at Juventus. He plays in one of the toughest leagues in the world but handles it all perfectly. I have great admiration for him.
Q] You’re a massive fan of The Stone Roses – did you get to see them when they re-formed?
Yes, I did a couple of summers ago.
It was an Aston Villa fan who arranged the tickets for me, which was really nice.
We had a great day. I came off a flight from New York and went straight there so I was a little bit jet-lagged but it was well worth it.
It was amazing – everything I wanted it to be. I went with my wife, my brother and sister in law, too. We had a superb day.
Q] What are your ultimate indie songs?
‘I Wanna Be Adored’ is my No.1, no doubt about it.
The other two? I’d go for ‘Songbird’ by Oasis and ‘This Charming Man’ by The Smiths.
Q] Who was your childhood hero?
It was Roy Keane.
I loved watching him when he was captain of Manchester United.
He had passion, aggression and quality. People often underestimate how good a footballer he was – he could play!