Micah Richards speaks in glowing terms about Aston Villa teammate Idrissa Gana

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The Senegalese midfielder has started eight Premier League games for the club since his summer move from French club Lille.

Aston Villa’s summer transfer policy has come under serious scrutiny in the wake of Tim Sherwood’s sacking, with some blaming the influx of untested foreign players for the club’s dismal start to the season.

However, several of those signings have shown clear flashes of class since arriving at Villa Park, including midfielder Idrissa Gana, who has made eight Premier League starts for the club since his £9 million move from Lille.

The 26-year-old’s high-energy displays in the centre of the park may not have been enough to prevent Sherwood’s exit but his teammates have still been quick to recognise his impact, with team captain Micah Richards the latest to sing his praises.

Speaking to the club’s official website, the defender said of his fellow summer signing: “He's been one of the standouts of the season - he's done very well as a new player coming to a new league.

“He sorts the lads in midfield, he gets them going, cleans up in there and gets us driving forward. He has massive energy in that middle ground.

“He's keen to learn too. You can see that on the training field. I have been very impressed and I think his form will continue to improve.”

Premier League GoalsAssistsKey PassesPassing AccuracyTotal Tackles GAMETackle AccuracyInterceptions GAMETotal Dribbles GAMEDribble AccuracyBall Recoveries GAMEAppearancesMins Played
Idrissa Gana 0 0 7 87% 4 81% 3.63 3.5 56.67% 9.63 8 720

Gana, who has 26 Senegal caps to his name, made 176 total appearances for Lille after earning his first-team debut in 2010 and recorded a career-high four goals and three assists last term, despite spending most of his time in a defensive midfield role.

However, having been compared to Chelsea’s Ramires, the former Ligue 1 star has been given license to get forward since arriving at Villa, and while he is still to register his first goal, there are definite signs to suggest that he could help out in the scoring department in the future.

The potential appointment of ex-Lyon boss Remi Garde, who has been heavily linked with the job since Sherwood’s sacking on the weekend, could also help get the best out of the Senegal international, although it remains to be seen whether problems getting his preferred backroom staff in place will prevent a deal going through [h/t The Guardian].

In the meantime, caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald is expected to remain in charge for Monday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur, and having opted to rest Gana for Wednesday night’s 2-1 Capital One Cup fourth-round defeat at Southampton, he will be hoping to see a Fabian Delph-like performance from the man labelled the skipper’s replacement in the summer.

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