Tim Sherwood stunned by how quickly Idrissa Gana has settled at Aston Villa

Aston Villa

The summer signing from Lille has already established himself as a key member of Sherwood's first-choice XI.

Speaking to AVTV, Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has lavished praise on Idrissa Gana for the start he has made to life in England since his £9 million summer move from Lille.

Gana, 26, joined Villa on a four-year deal in July after playing 176 times for Lille over the past five seasons, as well as recording a career-best four goals and three assists last term.

Previously likened to Chelsea’s Ramires due to his midfield versatility, the Senegal international has since started five games for Sherwood’s side and earned rave reviews for his energetic performances in the centre of the park.

A hamstring injury suffered earlier this month while on international duty saw him miss a three-game stretch before returning to the line-up for the weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Liverpool and the Villa boss admits that the team missed his influential presence during that period.

The first of four players to sign from Ligue 1 in the summer before Jordan Amavi, Jordan Ayew and Jordan Veretout, Sherwood even had no hesitation in labelling him the best of the bench thus far.

“He was unfortunate that he picked up the injury,” Sherwood told AVTV. “I think that we missed him over the period when he was out.

“I think he is the player who’s come in and settled quicker than any of the foreign lads. Obviously Micah Richards has done brilliantly but I think he’d be the one we’d point out.

“The game can’t be quick enough for him. Sometimes the Premier League is very quick for these guys and they wonder what they’ve come in to but, for Idrissa, it’s been like a duck to water.

“He’s done very, very well and is certainly one I’d like to take into the trenches with me.

 2015-16 Premier League GoalsAssistsKey PassesPassing AccuracyTotal Tackles GAMETackle AccuracyInterceptions GAMEBall Recoveries GAMEAppearancesMins Played
Idrissa Gueye 0 0 6 85% 4 80% 3 8.4 5 450

“He’s such a small guy off the pitch but when he’s on it he plays like a monster,” Sherwood continued. “We just hope we can start putting some points together so people start recognising the actual contribution he’s making.

“It’s very easy when the team loses to say everyone’s not very good but that’s actually not the case. There have been some good performances out there, particularly from Idrissa.”

Villa are currently sitting 18th in the Premier League after seven games ahead of Saturday’s visit of Stoke City, having gone without a top-flight win since beating Bournemouth 1-0 in their season opener at Dean Court.

The likes of Gana, Richards and Amavi have still managed to give a good account of themselves, though, and Sherwood is confident that his revamped squad will be able to turn the results around in due time.

“We’re not surprised we’re in this position but it comes as a disappointment,” he added. “We realised when we decided to bring in these development players from a different country that you’re rolling the dice somewhat.

“But that’s what we chose to do at the club and I’m happy to be in the driving seat.”

With a potential fifth straight relegation battle on the cards if the points don't arrive soon, the claret and blue faithful will be hoping that confidence is not misplaced.

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