Aston Villa defender Jose Angel Crespo determined to break into Remi Garde's plans

Aston Villa 2

The 28-year-old Spaniard has only made two appearances for the club since his July move from Cordoba.

After a slow start to life in England, Aston Villa defender Jose Angel Crespo has told AVTV that he is determined to break into Remi Garde’s side over the coming weeks.

Crespo, 28, played 29 times for Cordoba last season, seeing time at every position across the defence as the club finished bottom of La Liga.

Nevertheless, the versatile Spaniard still impressed enough during his one full campaign with Los Califas to earn a dream move to the Premier League, as Villa paid a reported £500,000 for his signature amid their summer rebuild.

Former manager Tim Sherwood labelled him “a steal” at the time, but the former Under-21 international was promptly injured within the opening 30 minutes of his first pre-season friendly at Nottingham Forest and has since made just two competitive appearances for the club.

With Villa now struggling at the foot of the table, though, the ex-Sevilla product is determined to show in training that he can help the team – whether at centre-half or full-back – and avoid another relegation in the process.

"I think I need to train stronger and I need to be ready for when the manager wants to play me,” Crespo told AVTV. “I am ready and I want to help the team.

"It is not important where I play - I just want to help the team.”

 2015-16 Premier League Duels WonDuels LostInterceptionsFoulsTotal PassesPassing AccuracyBall RecoveriesDispossessedAppearancesMins Played
José Ángel Crespo 1 3 1 1 27 89% 6 0 1 90

Crespo had to wait until October for his claret and blue debut, when he started the club’s 1-0 Premier League defeat to Stoke at Villa Park as part of a three-man central defence with skipper Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott.

His next Villa appearance also came at centre-back later that month in the 2-1 Capital One Cup fourth round loss at Southampton, but he has so far failed to even make the bench in Garde’s first three games in charge.

With Jordan Amavi ruled out for the rest of the season with cruciate knee ligament damage, he has been touted as a possible option to step in at left-back until at least the winter transfer window opens, but the new boss has instead decided to stick with Kieran Richardson over the past two matches.

However, the utility man, who has also had spells in Italy with Padova, Bologna and Verona, respectively, insists that he is loving life in England and hopes to have a long career at Villa.

“It’s very good,” Crespo added. “It’s a new experience and I am happy to be here. It’s very different, because Italy and Spain are quite similar but England is a lot different.

“The people and the weather are quite different, but I like it. It was very good to play against Stoke because Villa Park is a big stadium.

“I like the fans. Every match has a lot of people and support. I wanted to play because for me it is a dream to play in England in the Premier League."

Crespo will definitely not be playing when Villa travel to Southampton on Saturday, though, as Garde revealed at his pre-match press conference that the bearded-stopper is out injured for the match.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch