Ex-Aston Villa midfielder Brett Holman loving life in the Gulf

Former Aston Villa midfielder Brett Holman says moving to the United Arab Emirates has been great for both his family and career.

Brett Holman has been starring for Al-Nasr since joining the UAE Arabian Gulf League club from Aston Villa in June 2013, and the Australian midfielder insists the move has been one of the best decisions of his career.

Holman signed a pre-agreement with Villa in March 2012 to join Alex McLeish’s side when his AZ Alkmaar contract expired that summer, following a decade in Dutch football.

While there was another Scot at the helm in Paul Lambert upon his arrival at Villa Park, the versatile veteran still proved a solid contributor for the former Norwich manager during the 2012-13 campaign, making 29 total appearances in various different roles across the midfield.

Nevertheless, the 30-year-old struggled to settle with his family in England and, after agreeing to cancel his contract at the end of the season, opted to take up an offer with the Dubai-based outfit.

The 63-times capped international admits there were initial teething problems to life in the United Arab Emirates, but is now thriving both on and off the pitch for GCC Champions League holders.

“It was difficult to start with; anyone who has moved to a new country knows that it takes time to adapt,” he said in an exclusive interview with AGLeague.ae.

“I had a lot of things to organise with my wife and two young children, trying to find a house and get used to everything, but despite all the adjustments the first season went really well.

“The kids love it, and my wife and I want to stay here even after I finish playing football. From both a family perspective and football perspective now everything is great.

“So far it’s been one of the best experiences of my life, and I know my family would say the same.”

With Villa currently struggling in attack, Lambert’s side could do with a Holman-type option in the centre of the park, but the Claret and Blues loss’ seems to be Al-Nasr’s gain.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch