Björn Engels says he is benefitting from the leadership qualities of Tyrone Mings early on in his Aston Villa career.
The claret and blues may have conceded five times so far in their opening two games, but that hasn't masked the promising partnership of Engels and Mings as a centre-back pairing.
Engels has made a solid start to life in the Premier League, while Mings' performances have seen him mentioned in the same breath as the England side so far this term.
Belgian Engels insists it's his team-mate setting the high standards at present, and that he can learn and be inspired by his actions.
He said: "Everyone talks about Tyrone and how much of a leader he is. I feel that too.
"He speaks a lot on and off the pitch with me. He's a great guy with a lot of qualities.
"For me, it's nice to play alongside him. It feels good to have such a top player next to me.
"He's had a few years playing in the Premier League before, so I feel I need more games to improve and try and reach his level.
"He thinks fast, is very good in the air and can play out of the back – which we both like to do. We're similar like that."
On competition for places at the back, Engels has reaffirmed that five doesn't go into two, and that those waiting in the wings will keep the pressure on.
Ezri Konsa made Dean Smith's bench against Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth, while Kortney Hause and James Chester are nearing returns from short-term injuries.
Engels has also praised goalkeeper Tom Heaton for his consistent vocals, which help guide the back line.
He added: "There's a lot of centre-backs here and the competition is high. I knew that when I came here.
"If you come to the Premier League, you're always going to have to fight for your place.
"At the moment, I'm playing. I can only improve and try and do better every time.
"We also have Tom Heaton behind us, who's experienced and speaks a lot on the pitch. He's important for me, too.
"He's someone behind me who I trust. I hear him all the time."