Joleon Lescott believes Aston Villa teammate Micah Richards can still become one of the game's best defenders

The Villa new boy played with his fellow defender for five seasons at Manchester City.

After playing with Micah Richards at Manchester City, Aston Villa new boy Joleon Lescott has told AVTV of his delight at the chance to link up with his former teammate again in the Midlands.

The 33-year-old centre-back joined his boyhood club on deadline day from local rivals West Bromwich Albion for a reported fee that could rise to £2 million, and is now expected to compete with Ciaran Clark for a starting spot alongside his team captain.

The pair spent five seasons together at the Etihad Stadium between 2009 and 2014, while winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup in 2011 and the League Cup in 2014, before Lescott left for West Brom on a free transfer last summer after falling out of favour.

Richards followed him out the exit door 12 months later after spending last term on loan at Fiorentina and, having since switched from right-back to centre-half upon joining Villa, his fellow summer signing is relishing the prospect of a potential partnership in the heart of the defence.

Asked about the City academy product, who he also played with during his England career, Lescott was quick to laud his talent, telling AVTV: “I’ve been lucky enough to play with Micah before – at the international level as well – so I know the qualities he possesses in the performances you’ve seen.

“Having trained and worked with him in the past, I known and still know he can go on to become one of the best centre-halves or even right-backs – wherever he chooses to play.”

 2015-16 Premier League TeamErrors Lead To GoalTotal Tackles GAMETackle AccuracyTotal Clearances GAMEHeaders Won GAMEHeader SuccessInterceptions GAMEPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Ciaran Clark Aston Villa 0 1.5 67% 9.25 5 77% 3.5 78% 4 360
Joleon Lescott West Brom 0 1 100% 5 1 67% 3 90% 2 180
Micah Richards Aston Villa 0 2 75% 6.25 2.75 65% 3.5 84% 4 360

Lescott also knows, though, that he will have to earn his spot in the side before he can take to the pitch with Richards and several other familiar faces from both his club and international career.

“I don’t want to be disrespectful to be the people that are in the team now,” he added. “There’s still a long way to go for me to fight my way into the team, but the personality side of things can definitely help with the comradery around the dressing room, on and off the field.

“I’ve known Scott [Sinclair], Gabby [Agbonlahor] and even Joe [Cole] for a number of years, so there a lot of players here I’d like to think I’ll feel comfortable around.”

Lescott made 34 Premier League appearances for West Brom during his lone full season at the Hawthorns, as the Baggies recorded a formidable 15 clean sheets when he was in the line-up – a number only bettered by Chelsea trio John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic.

He is still not guaranteed to be a regular starter at Villa if Clark can recapture his stellar form from last term but, with his substantial top-flight experience and long-time support for the club, the ex-Everton man could well prove a shrewd signing for Tim Sherwood’s side.

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