Brad Guzan has stressed the huge role of Ron Vlaar in the team's successful survival bid.
Vlaar missed two months of the season - including a tough festive period - after limping off against Arsenal at Villa Park in November.
But the popular centre-half returned to the side for the exciting derby draw with West Brom at The Hawthorns in February.
There's no question Villa improved defensively when Vlaar slotted back into the line-up, with a brilliant final few months of the campaign.
Vlaar even found time to score two belting goals - at home to Sunderland and away at Wigan.
But his stopping quality was undoubtedly the most vital element of his game.
Guzan is not surprised at Vlaar's impact for two reasons - his quality and his leadership.
He said: "Ron has been tremendous for us.
"He's an international defender who has played football at the highest level. His ability speaks for itself.
"He has commitment, strength and understanding of the game.
"What he's brought to the team has been massive.
"He's a true competitor - a real warrior, a real fighter.You need that in the Premier League.
"He's very vocal and a real organiser. That's important in any team.Ron brings that to the table.
"It's always good to have a defender who organises - a guy who reiterates positions to help things before they happen on the pitch.
"Just to have someone in the backline who is a real leader is a massive thing. Ron is a leader, no question."
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