The Villa boss wants the former Crewe midfielder to become the Michael Carrick of his side after handing him a new long-term deal.
After rewarding Ashley Westwood’s consistency with a new five-year deal, Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has revealed how he wants the midfielder to become his side’s chief orchestrator.
Speaking on the club’s official Youtube channel, Sherwood was quick to praise his football intelligence and stressed how he envisages him become Villa’s own version of Manchester United counterpart Michael Carrick.
“I think Ashley is a very intelligent player,” he said. “He understands what I want from the group, takes that out onto the pitch and tries to be the orchestrator out there.
“I want him to get on the ball more than anyone and makes up play – know when to speed it up, when to slow it down – really similar to Michael Carrick for Manchester United.
“I want him to grow in personality and in confidence on that pitch and hopefully he can improve this season.”
|Vs Bournemouth||Assists||Total Key Passes||Total Passes||Passing Accuracy||Total Tackles||Interceptions||Touches||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
Westwood, 25, joined Villa from League One side Crewe Alexandra in August 2012 for around £900,000 plus add-ons and has since made 103 total appearances for the club, while recording three goals and 10 assists.
Though he has received few headlines during his time at Villa Park, his understated but efficient performances prompted former manager Paul Lambert to tip him for a first England call-up last season, while Sherwood has already labelled him one his favourite players to work with since arriving at the club.
After playing 450 minutes in pre-season – 30 more than any other Villa player, he set up Rudy Gestede's 72nd-minute winner in the weekend's Premier League opener at Bournemouth from a corner and, with his long-term future now committed to the claret and blues, looks set to take on a vital role in Sherwood’s side moving forward as the midfield anchorman.
Likened to Carrick since his time captaining Crewe at the age of just 22, his no-nonsense approach seems perfect for such a role and, given both his renowned professionalism and now substantial top-flight experience, it is not hard to see him becoming one of Villa’s main leaders over the coming seasons.