Jores Okore could have joined Chelsea prior to moving to Villa Park, but the emerging centre-back believes his decision to spurn the Blues is now being justified.
Okore, 22, signed from FC Nordsjælland in June 2013 for around £4 million, despite the Premier League leaders having an offer on the table.
The Denmark international endured a frustrating debut campaign at Villa Park, however, making just four appearances before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in a September match against Newcastle.
Returning to full training during preseason, the promising stopper remained on the fringes of the first-team for the opening few months of the season, before a spate of defensive injuries saw him thrust back into the line-up.
Since starting 12 of Villa’s 13 fixtures, Okore has become undroppable to manager Paul Lambert, and is starting to show the talent which had major clubs interested in his signature.
When asked about snubbing the Blues before arriving in the West Midlands, he said: “There is, of course, the temptation – it is a big club, a big opportunity.
“But sometimes you need to take some tough decisions that a lot of people might think are stupid. You need to be smart, think about the long term, not the short. There are a lot of situations where people are going to the big clubs.
“Of course, you get quality training each day but it is in the games you develop. That is when you need to be sharp. I’m not going to be that if I don’t get the opportunity to play.
“I am not happy about sitting on the bench. I want to be the best footballer I can be.”
With injured veterans Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos getting back to full fitness, Villa are set to have an impressive amount of depth at centre-back, but the rapport that Okore and Ciaran Clark have struck up in the middle over recent months suggests Lambert shouldn’t disrupt their partnership.