By Dan Harrison
Barry Bannan reckons tapping into the knowledge of two European Cup-winning midfielders can help him become a central star for Villa.
Bannan worked under one of Villa's 1982 heroes Gordon Cowans during his formative years in the club's youth ranks.
Now he is relishing the prospect of learning from new boss Paul Lambert, who won European football's biggest prize with Borussia Dortmund in 1997.
The appointment of Lambert was particularly exciting for boyhood Celtic fan Bannan because he grew up watching his compatriot patrol the Glasgow club's midfield alongside Stiliyan Petrov.
"There's the gaffer and Sid Cowans who have won the European Cup so for a midfielder like me I'm only going to learn from these people," said Bannan.
"I remember the gaffer as a hard working player, but he could play as well.
"He obviously won a European Cup winners medal with Dortmund and they were a great footballing team then so I wouldn't just say he was the grafter.
"At Celtic Neil Lennon did the graft and Paul Lambert and Stan Petrov were the footballers."
Bannan says the Lambert effect is already rubbing off on the Villa squad even though the new campaign is still a month away.
But the 22-year-old insists his team-mates are determined to carry that feel-good factor into the Barclays Premier League season.
"It was doom and gloom last season, but even now, and we've not kicked a ball competitively yet, there's a big lift already," he added.
"So hopefully when we get back in after pre-season and start playing the Premier League games and stuff there will still be a real buzz around the ground.
"It goes without saying that when there's a new manager there's a clean slate for everyone, so it's just up to us players now and individuals to come in and show him what we're all about.
"It's everybody fighting for themselves and the chance to play now when we go into pre-season.
"He definitely sounds like he's in a hurry to sort out the club with the way he has been talking."
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