Brad Guzan admits life was tough at Aston Villa but believes it has made him stronger

Aston Villa's Brad Guzan

The goalkeeper left Villa after eight years to join Middlesbrough this summer.

Aston Villa's Brad Guzan

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan has admitted to the official website of his new club Middlesbrough that life at Villa Park last season was difficult, and revealed that he was happy to take on a new challenge.

Guzan left Villa after eight years to join promoted Boro on a free transfer earlier this summer after the Birmingham club's dismal relegation.

The USA international had lost his place as first-choice goalkeeper in the latter stages of the campaign, and with the arrival of new number one Pierluigi Gollini this summer he looked even less likely to win that place back.

Aston Villa's Brad Guzan

Instead, he was allowed to leave Villa Park on a free transfer to take up a new challenge at newly-promoted side Boro, where he will face stiff competition for the number one spot.

He will have to compete with former Barcelona stopper Victor Valdes, last season's first-choice Dimi Konstantopoulos, and Tomas Mejias for the position between the posts, but has already insisted that he is up for the fight.

Guzan has now admitted for the first time since his move just how difficult life at Villa was last term, but says that it is how he responds to the set-backs that is now important.

Aston Villa's Brad Guzan, Ciaran Clark and teammates look dejected after Watford's third goal

He told Middlesbrough's official website: "It was tough for everyone there [Villa] – that’s probably an understatement.

"With any walk of life there’s always going to be difficulties. It’s how you come through those hard times and how you come out of the other end.

"When this transfer materialised I was happy for the new challenge. I’m excited to be part of this great football club and I’m looking forward to getting the season started."

Guzan will hope to force his way into contention to start for Aitor Karanka's side before the Premier League season kicks off next weekend.

Aston Villa's Brad Guzan watches as Alan Hutton (not pictured) scores an own goal and Chelsea's second

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