Ashley Westwood has thanked Paul Lambert for helping him mature into a top-flight midfield ace.
Westwood is set to make his 55th Barclays Premier League appearance in this afternoon's clash against Stoke City.
And the 23-year-old midfielder, who signed from hometown club Crewe in August 2012, admits he still finds his quick rise through the leagues "remarkable".
Westwood is thankful to Lambert for giving him the opportunity - and says the Villa boss was instrumental in making sure he hit the ground running.
"I never thought I would play one [Premier League game], so to play 50 has been remarkable for me," he said.
"I came here late on deadline day. The gaffer threw me in at Sunderland and I have never looked back since.
"Fifty games down the line, it has gone quickly and hopefully I can get to another 50.
"You always dream of it, but I never thought I would do it.
"I just thought I would stay at Crewe and see out my footballing days, but then Villa came along and I have taken the chance."
Westwood says his game has come on leaps and bounds under Lambert, a successful midfielder with Borussia Dortmund and Celtic.
"My game has come on in leaps and bounds," he added.
"Playing in the Premier League it will improve again. The gaffer is always talking.
"He talks to all the boys, to be fair. He takes the midfielders aside and talks about what he wants us to do. We couldn't learn from anybody better.
"Obviously he played there. He played the same role as me. He was all about keeping it simple.
"He has told me that you do the work that goes unnoticed and that the lads in front of you reap the benefit.
"But at the end of the day if you are not providing then they don't score the goals."
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