Ashley Westwood gets a fresh start

New man Ashley Westwood replaces Scott Arfield against Watford at Vicarage Road
New man Ashley Westwood replaces Scott Arfield against Watford at Vicarage Road
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Ashley Westwood is looking forward to putting his recent troubles behind him and getting a fresh start with the Clarets after sealing a deadline day move to Turf Moor.

The central midfielder had been subjected to unpleasantries from a small section of fans at Villa Park which coincided with the club’s fall to the Championship.

The end of Villa’s 28-year top flight stay temporarily sank the Midlands operation in to turmoil with directors Mervyn King and ex-English Football Association chairman David Bernstein resigning while there was instability from a managerial point of view.

After Paul Lambert, who was responsible for taking in Westwood from Crewe, was dismissed from his position, a string of coaches followed with Tim Sherwood, Remi Garde, Roberto Di Matteo and current incumbent, Steve Bruce, all taking charge.

“I wanted to give it one more go at Villa because I felt I deserved to try and get them back up but it wasn’t meant to be,” he said. “Thankfully the gaffer here has come in for me, rescued me and I’m back in the top flight now.

“It was a big shock. Obviously there were rumours in the summer but it didn’t quite happen. Thankfully it came in January and I’m absolutely delighted to be here.

“I see it as a fresh start to get my career back on track. I’ve had a few set backs, some not very nice words said over the time, but you get that as a footballer. Now I’ve got a fresh start with a great set of lads.”

He added: “They have been tough times but this is a well set up club and it’s where I want to play my football.

“It’s not been nice but coming here I’ve been given another chance by the gaffer and hopefully I can repay him.

“I’m adaptable, I get on with people, but I’ve certainly got a tough skin now from my time at Villa.

“It makes you a bigger person and it helps you grow up really quickly. I was 24 when times were bad but it made me grow up and become a man.”

The 26-year-old sees himself in the same mould as Manchester United’s Michael Carrick and he’s ready to show what he’s capable of back in the top flight.

Westwood, who made 124 appearances at that level for the Villans, said: “When I first joined Villa I said that I was like Michael Carrick. I keep it simple. He’s very under-rated.

“I know I need to do more, I need to get fitter , get around the pitch more, close people down and I think the gaffer here will bring that out of me.

“I’m not flash, I know what I do. I’ll work hard in every game. I need to go to the next level now.”