Warnock hails new defence

Villa new boys impress skipper

Warnock: Happy with debut

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Aston Villa new boy Stephen Warnock believes their new-look defence can help the club to success this season.

New signings Warnock, Richard Dunne and James Collins all made their debuts in Sunday's 1-0 win over local rivals Birmingham.

Warnock was happy with his first outing for the club and believes the trio will bring some leadership to the side because of their experience.

"It's terrific to start with a win and a clean sheet in a local derby away from home - there's no better feeling for a defender," Warnock told the Daily Mirror.

"The three new lads only found out just before the game, when the team was read out, that we were all playing, although the manager gave us a clue the night before because he pulled myself, James and Richard aside individually and and told us what he expected.

Gelled together

"But we've only been training together for a few days all week and I think we've gelled together very quickly. It looked good straight away today and there was plenty of talking between the back four, which is what you need, so we came through it well - and the result speaks for itself.

"I might seem quiet now but I'm a different person on the pitch, screaming at Dunny and the people around me all the time. Richard's the same, and so is James Collins. I think myself and Richard are quite quiet lads around the place, but go into a game and it's a different thing.

"At the back you've got to talk - because if you don't, then you are not going to get anywhere in this league.

"I wouldn't know whether that's something Villa have lacked in the past because I've not been here, but talking is so important. I grew up with Jamie Carragher at Liverpool and he never shut up during a game - he always kept you on your toes, and if you've got four players across the back doing that it's going to make life a lot easier.

"If we can keep it tight at our end of the field, we are always going to create at the other end.

The pace and ability of the lads up front is fantastic. You know they are going to get chances and, once we scored, we had a couple more on the break.

"I'm looking forward to playing with either Ashley Young or James Milner in front of me - hopefully I can just knock the ball forward and let them get on with it. I certainly won't try and run past them on the overlap because I won't catch either of them!"

The trio all won a seal of approval from Villa captain Stilyan Petrov who feels they will add something to the current Villa squad.

"Clean sheets give you the chance to win matches, and all three new signings - Collins, Dunne and Warnock - played very well at Birmingham. They looked very confident and composed, and that's what you want to see in the heat of a derby.

"They are all leaders and they have all been around a long time at this level, so they know what it takes to control the game from the back.

"They were very loud and they were in control - it was something we were lacking before, but these lads see everything, they help each other out and they control the game."