Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar is looking forward to next season after a tough debut campaign in the Premier League.
The Dutchman joined the club in August but settling in proved a challenge as Paul Lambert’s young side struggled to cope.
Vlaar was appointed captain by Lambert in September after Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with leukemia and he went on to make 27 appearances, scoring two goals, including an impressive volley in the final-day 2-2 draw against Wigan.
Despite a less-than-ideal first season, Vlaar found the positives and believes it will stand them in good stead for next season.
“It was a hard, hard season, mentally and physically,” he told the club’s official website. “But it’s been a very good experience for all of us.
“I am already looking forward to the new season because in the last few months we have really shown what we are capable of.
“We did a lot better. We really stepped up and got really good results, especially against the teams around us.”
Villa’s squad had many players making their debuts in the Premier League and Vlaar knows that they have learned as a group and can only see things getting better as they develop.
“We learnt a lot through the season,” he added. “For a lot of players it was our first year in the Premier League.
“We had a young team but the experience from this season we will take into next season.
“You only want to look up. When pre-season starts, we look to the first game and we will look to do better.”