Chief Sports Writer Hyder Jawad finds the Villa new boy heading in the right direction...
For the first time all afternoon, Aaron Hughes looked lost.
"I am still trying to work my way around this place," he said, realising that Villa Park is like a casino in Las Vegas. Easy to get into, difficult to get out of.
Hughes had just performed impressively during Aston Villa's match at home to Bolton Wanderers. The 2-2 draw did not please him - draws are rarely good on the opening day of the season - but he had the healthy glow that all footballers have when they know they have played well.
It was from his accurate cross that Kevin Phillips was able to give Villa a one-goal lead in the fourth minute and, generally, Hughes performed the duel role of right back and right winger. He seemed to complement Nolberto Solano, much to the delight of the Villa supporters.
"Yeah, as debuts go, I've got to be happy with that," Hughes said. "It was a good start personally but I look upon the result as two points dropped rather than a point gained. It was a frantic opening nine minutes, with four goals coming, but this was a match we felt we should have won."
Modest, unassuming and composed, Hughes is one of those players every Premiership club needs. His arrival from Newcastle United, for a fee of about £1 million, looks like becoming one of the bargains of the summer.
He is, at 25, still some way off hitting his peak so it is fair to assume that Villa will benefit from his best days.
"I think the best time of my career is still ahead of me, so hopefully I will give Villa my best football," Hughes said. "This is a good move for me. As an opponent, I always regarded Villa as a strong team and Villa Park a difficult place to play So it is good that I am part of it all now."
Hughes has played 40 times for Northern Ireland and will be part of the squad to play England in a World Cup qualifying match in September. He played 205 Premiership matches in eight years for Newcastle before his surprise move to Villa this summer.
"To be honest, I had no choice but to leave," Hughes said. "I had no say in the matter. So imagine my delight when a club like Villa came in for me. I want to be part of something good and Villa gives me that chance.
"It is a shame we did not start the season with a win. When you are at home, and you go a goal up, you like to think you can press on and secure the three points. That would have completed my day. But we have got a good squad here, a good mix of young players and experienced players, and I am happy."
And so he should be. Olof Mellberg, the Villa captain, was just one player to express delight with the performance of Hughes. "Aaron did not make a mistake all afternoon," Mellberg said, and the Sweden international was right.
Hughes did not quite catch the eye in the way that Phillips did but, in one sense, he produced a more significant performance because Villa spent most of the second half defending. That was where Hughes was at his best.
With doubts over the fitness of Mark Delaney increasing, it appears that Hughes will occupy the rightback position for Villa for a long time to come. In addition to stabilising the defence - Villa were poor at the back last season - it will give the team new options going forward.
Hughes was at his best when he was overlapping on the right flank, taking advantage of the space created by Solano. One was reminded of how Manfred Kaltz used to do the same for West Germany during the early 80s.
"It is good to get forward as much as possible and I enjoy it," Hughes said. "The manager [David O'Leary] has encouraged me to do that and I think it serves the team well. I like it that a team wants to play like that. It is good for the players and for the supporters.
"But it is not a new thing. I did the same when I played for Newcastle. For me, it is natural to want to get forward and put in some crosses. I see it as part of my job, although obviously I am a defender first and foremost.
"I think Villa will do well this season. I don't want to look too far ahead and talk about a possible European place. The season has just started. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us. And we have got tough matches coming up.
"For me, I have to do well enough to make sure I am in the team for the next match."
Eventually, Hughes managed to navigate himself away from Villa Park and towards the security of his family and friends.
Usually players, particularly the bad ones, are lost on the pitch and only find their bearings off it.
Hughes bucked the trend on Saturday by doing the opposite. But nobody at Villa will complain about that. He was signed to add stability and early signs are that he will be as important a David O'Leary signing as Solano and Gavin McCann.