Ridgewell earns Black praise

Blues assistant boss hails defender

Ridgewell: Fans favourite

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Former Aston Villa defender Liam Ridgewell has been praised for winning over the Birmingham fans.

Ridgewell became the first player for more than 20 years to secure a transfer from Villa to Birmingham when he moved to St Andrews in August.

He has made a solid start to his Blues career and has even been handed the captain's armband in the absence of regular skipper Damien Johnson.

Birmingham assistant manager Eric Black said: "Liam came here from Villa and he had a lot of weight on his shoulders having coming in from across the city.

"But, from the minute I met him prior to signing, I didn't have any doubt that he would be able to cope with that. You could see he was a strong enough character.

Fabulous mentality

"He is a young lad but he has a lot of Premier League experience for someone so young, has a fabulous mentality and he integrated himself immediately in the squad.

"He has shown those leadership qualities that the manager looked at - and he gave him the armband. He has been a fantastic acquisition for us and I am sure he will get better."

Black believes it is Ridgewell's tenacity that has endeared him to the Birmingham supporters.

He explained: "The fans have taken to him and will do that when they know a player is prepared to give everything for them and the team - regardless of where he has been before.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve. You can see he is committed and he wants to do well - and he wants to do well for Birmingham City."