Jores Okore is hoping to link-up with Ron Vlaar in central defence next season.
Okore missed virtually the whole of the 2013-14 campaign with a serious knee injury.
He's already got his eye on next term and he'd love to form a solid partnership with Vlaar.
Okore is a big admirer of Vlaar, a player he respects and rates very highly.
He said: "In my opinion, Ron has been excellent for Villa. I have been really impressed with him - as a defender and as a skipper.
"He's the rock of the defence. He's the one who has all the experience in there. Everyone looks up to him.
"He always works very hard every day at the training ground to be the best he can be. That's important to him.
"He takes responsibility for everything on the pitch. He's getting more and more confident every day too - and he seems to improve with every game.
"People forget this was only his second season in the Barclays Premier League - and he missed quite a few games the previous season. It can take time to settle but Ron is consistently strong every time he plays.
"Being a defender is really tough. There's a lot of pressure on you. But he's doing great for Villa. Hopefully he will continue getting stronger next season.
"I am up for the challenge of trying to get into the team myself.
"I feel like I had a good connection with Ron when we played together. We didn't play a great deal together but we did have a good understanding when we did. It felt good.
"But it would be the same with Nathan and Ciaran too. These are good defenders and good guys.
"We talk a lot together. There will be competition for places next season - but we're all good mates.
"Whoever plays, there will be great support from the others. We want to be strong whoever plays."
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