Joe Bennett admits he wants to prove himself to Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo

Fulham's Stanislav Manolev in action with Aston Villa's Joe Bennett (L)

The left-back has not played competitively for Villa in 11 months.

Fulham's Stanislav Manolev in action with Aston Villa's Joe Bennett (L)

Aston Villa left-back Joe Bennett has told BBC WM that he wants to prove to Roberto Di Matteo that he is good enough to the club;s first-choice left-back in the Championship.

Bennett has not played for Villa since his only appearance of last season, in the 5-3 Capital One Cup win over Notts County in August, in which he scored.

He spent three unsuccessful months on loan at Bournemouth, for whom he failed to make a single appearance, before playing just four times for Sheffield Wednesday in a five-month spell in the second half of last term.

Brighton's Joe Bennett (R) and Cardiff City Kenwyne Jones in action

However, two years ago he starred for Brighton and Hove Albion in the Championship, making 41 league appearances for the Seagulls, and though his time at Villa has yet to get off the ground he has been impressing for the club in pre-season over the last week or so.

The 26-year-old scored two free-kicks for Di Matteo's side in the 8-0 thrashing of Austrian side Gak Graz on Saturday, and he told BBC WM that he is now focused on establishing himself ahead of Jordan Amavi and Aly Cissokho as the club's left-back this season.

Fulham's Stanislav Manolev (L) in action with Aston Villa's Joe Bennett

Bennett said: "There's a lot of positivity around the club at the moment with the new manager and owner.  We've got a few new players who are gelling well - I think the fans can look forward to a good season.

"I want to prove to the manager I can play in this league. Obviously there's competition with Jordan Amavi and Aly Cissokho - but you get that at any club and it pushes you to play better."

Since joining from Middlesbrough four years ago Bennett has enjoyed just a single season as a regular for Villa, in his first season at the club in 2012-13 when he made 29 appearances in all competitions.

Rotherham's Craig Morgan in action with Brighton's Joe Bennett

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch