Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood speaks of his admiration for Manchester City's David Silva

David Silva

Remi Garde's men are currently preparing to face City in Saturday's FA Cup fourth round clash at Villa Park.

While Carles Gil has already made his admiration for Manchester City playmaker David Silva well known, another Aston Villa midfielder also seems to hold a soft spot for the skilful Spaniard.

Ashley Westwood faces the daunting task of trying to shackle the City star in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round clash at Villa Park, and it sounds like he knows he is in for a tough afternoon.

Speaking to Villa’s official website, the former Crewe Alexandra skipper was full of praise for Silva’s “ghost-like” movement and even went as far as to label him the toughest opponent he has faced since joining the claret and blues from his childhood club in August 2012.

"David Silva is by far the toughest opponent I've faced,” said Westwood. "Ever since I've played in the Premier League I've thought the same.

"He's like a ghost at times, you don't know where he is. He's a top player."

Fortunately, Westwood should have some help in his efforts to keep Silva quiet on Saturday from midfielder partners Idrissa Gana and Jordan Veretout.

Gana has been an ever-present in the Premier League since Remi Garde replaced Tim Sherwood as Villa manager in November, while fellow summer signing Veretout also started the Frenchman’s first 11 top-flight matches in charge before dropping to the bench for last weekend’s 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion.

The 22-year-old produced a bright display off the bench after replacing the injured Rudy Gestede for the final 10 minutes, however, and is expected to come back into the line-up for the visit of Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

With Carlos Sanchez currently sidelined with a hamstring injury, Westwood has been enjoying an extended run in the side alongside the two former Ligue 1 stars and thinks much of the team’s improvement over recent weeks is down to their growing rapport in the centre of the park.

"Idrissa and I work well, we're starting to gel,” he told avfc.co.uk. "Jordan Veretout and Gilly are playing well as well.

"We just want to perform at a high level to help the team. The manager has brought a lot out of the French boys and the English lads are buying into it.

"We know it'll take time. We want to hit the ground running for the gaffer and that's what we'll try to do."

Villa have previously faced City under Garde at home, when the former Lyon manager's first match at the helm in November saw his side hold the Citizens to a 0-0 draw.

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