Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar is confident that Jose Cole will get over his slow start at the club to make a big impact over the coming months.
Cole, 32, saw his first Premier League minutes of the season in last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Everton, having been brought on for the final 10 minutes of the match.
The former Chelsea midfielder has struggled for fitness since arriving on a free transfer in June, with his only significant contribution thus far being a 60-minute outing in the shock Capital One Cup loss to Leyton Orient, but Vlaar believes his new teammate will soon show his worth to the side.
‘Joe is a great player - and a top professional,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘Everybody knows what he's capable of. He's shown that time after time - and he can show it at Villa too.
‘I think he's been a little bit unlucky with injuries. They've not been big things but it must be frustrating for him after joining the club in the summer.
‘However, he was back against Everton and now he will want to show what he can do.
‘He has the qualities to be a match winner. That's obvious. He can score goals, create goals - and he's a smart player out there. He's a very intelligent footballer and very gifted.
‘He will show his quality I'm sure - and that would be a great boost for him personally.’
Manager Paul Lambert echoed Vlaar’s sentiments earlier this week, revealing that the team’s need for a creative spark could see Cole in line for a starting spot over the next few fixtures.
‘He’s still got a bit to go but he’s certainly getting there,’ he told the Birmingham Mail.
‘If we keep Joe fit and up to speed then hopefully it will benefit him and us.’