By Paul Brown
Brad Guzan insists facing "world-class strikers" Darren Bent and Gabby Agbonlahor every day in training is ample preparation as he looks ahead to his first Barclays Premier League start.
Guzan currently has only 80 minutes of top-flight experience in his locker, coming on at Liverpool last season and against Manchester United at the weekend.
But, with No.1 Shay Given sidelined with a hamstring strain, Guzan looks set to be given a run of big matches over the festive season.
The giant USA ace is philosophical about his lack of pitch time in our domestic division.
He thinks having to be on his toes at Bodymoor Heath against predators like Bent and Agbonlahor will stand him in great stead.
He said: "People will talk about me not having played much Premier League football but there's no better preparation than facing the likes of Benty and Gabby every day.
"To be able to train with these guys, these are world-class strikers. It's tremendous for me and my development.
"When you train with these guys every day, it prepares you really well.
"They have loads of experience and they're great finishers.
"To now be able to step on to the Premier League stage and have them on your team, rather than facing them in training, is really nice.
"When you train with these guys day in and day out, it makes it a lot easier to step in to action which I'll be doing.
"I will be good. It's the best league in the world and a lot of people agree with me.
"To have the chance to play in the Premier League at a club like Aston Villa is fantastic.
"I can't wait for the challenge. For me, I just have to step in now and do a job."
Of course, training sessions in the run-up to games generally include practice matches with the selected first team taking on those benched and not involved.
So far that's meant Guzan being faced with Bent and Agbonlahor regularly.
What about his stats against record-signing Bent?
He added: "I've got the better of him, don't worry about that!"
Click here to pick up tickets for the festive clash with Liverpool.