New Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has received a glowing endorsement from his former Borussia Dortmund mentor Ottmar Hitzfeld.
German Hitzfeld signed Lambert from Motherwell in 1996, and the Scot subsequently played in Dortmund’s Champions League final upset victory over Juventus in May 1997.
Lambert has been recognised as one of the most promising coaches in Europe, earning a switch to Villa Park after guiding Norwich from League One to the English Premier League.
“As a player, Paul always thought like a coach,” Hitzfeld told The Mirror.
“He was a leader. I have followed his career since.
“What was most critical was that Paul was a very good team player. That is one of the most important qualities as a coach and manager of a team.
“Paul was one of the players responsible for keeping a good mood in the dressing room before a game, and after a defeat he was one of those who knew how to address a situation or any problem.”
Lambert, 42, joined Norwich in 2009, achieving successive promotions from League One to the Championship and then to the Premier League, where he secured a 12th-placed finish in the club’s first season back in the top flight since 2004.
He replaces Alex McLeish in the Villa Park hot seat after the former Rangers manager was dismissed last month for guiding his side to 16th place in the table, only two points off the relegation zone.
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