Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has praised Australia’s Brett Holman for his leadership skills in recent games.
The 28-year-old midfielder enjoyed a tentative start to his Villa career, showing only glimpses of his true potential, and faced a month prior to the Reading game last weekend without a start for the club.
However, his performances in the last two games against the Royals and QPR proved Lambert was right to pick him up on a free transfer from AZ Alkmaar this summer, with Holman commanding the midfield alongside fellow summer-signing Ashley Westwood, who joined from Crewe.
Villa hung on for a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road as a combination of the woodwork, poor QPR finishing and an impressive showing from Brad Guzan earned Lambert’s men a valuable point. And the 43-year-old has praised the play which saw the Australian score his first goal for the club.
“It was a terrific move and a great finish by Brett and it gave us something to go with,” Lambert told the Birmingham Mail.
“I am delighted with the team. He has threatened to do that a few times and his energy levels are extremely high, and I thought it was a fabulous strike from him.
“It was his first Premier League goal so hopefully that will give him confidence to go and get a few more goals now. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who scores as long as somebody does.
“If we can score, we can win, and I think that is important. I don’t want to score and get beat, but Brett was great.
“He was excellent against Reading and also against Swansea, so Brett has been good overall since he has been here.
“It is a different environment for him and he has only been here a short time so he is still adapting to little things and getting used to the Premier League.
“The Premier League is such that you have got to try to use everybody. And, as I said, Brett has been in English football a relatively short space of time.”
Lambert said Holman, who was voted Australia’s Player of 2012, had emerged as one of the leaders within his young side following Ron Vlaar’s absence through injury.
“He is one of the leaders as an experienced player but Ron Vlaar is very good at that as well. Obviously Ron’s injury has been a blow for us,” Lambert said.
“But they are all feeding off each other, which is encouraging.”
The former Norwich boss also refused to set any firm targets for this season after good results have temporarily lifted them away from the survival scrap.
“I never set targets,” he said.
“I never put expectations on anybody. It’s a big football club, which is brilliant to be at, and we’ll do everything we can and see how far we go and what happens. So I don’t have any expectancy as such.
“The players train the way they play and that’s important. I don’t think you go on the training pitch and switch it on and off like a switch.
“I expect them to train the way they play and they have been excellent.”