Ken McNaught is confident that Paul Lambert will give Aston Villa’s under-performing players the shake-up they need to avoid a third consecutive season of struggles.
The last two Premier League terms have seen Villa flirt with relegation and come too close for comfort to the dreaded drop in the most recent campaign.
Yesterday the 42-year-old Scot outlined his plans to get his new club back into the top half of the Premier League again and club legend McNaught believes he has the qualities to see it through.
“I think it’s a very good appointment,” he said.
“Obviously he would have agreed what his remit is before he took over but I think he’s going to get more of a free hand than the previous two managers, I would imagine.
“Alex (McLeish) took the job on, he knew that there were certain things asked of him before he took over and unfortunately he couldn’t turn things around.
“Paul has got plenty of experience and you only have to look at his most recent record with Norwich to see how well he’s done.
“He’s a winner, he knows the game well and he can play the game. He knows what’s needed to be able to do that.”
McNaught, a European Cup winner with Villa in 1982, remembers Lambert as a leader during his playing days and believes his management style reflects what he was like on the pitch.
He used to watch his fellow countryman at Celtic and believes he was a big influence in changing the fortunes around at the Glasgow giants.
An illustrious playing career has quickly been followed by an impressive start as a manager. That has helped him win the respect that McNaught feels will help turn around Villa.
“His CV looks great and there was no surprise that Villa would be interested in a man like that,” he added.
“The reputation he has got is that he is no-nonsense, that’s exactly what Villa need because there are obviously a few large egos in the dressing room and it has to be sorted out.
“Knowing his reputation he’s not going to look for a holiday, he’s not going to look for a honeymoon period, he will want to win games from the start.
“He proved that by what he did at Norwich.
“He will want things done the proper way, and his way, right from the very start.
“If anybody doesn’t want to be on board he will get shot of them.
“At the end of the day that’s what managers have to do, that’s why they’re getting paid the amount of money that they are getting.
“It’s all about egos nowadays. I’m sure his ego is bigger than the players because he is a proven winner.
“I think that Paul has got a blank piece of paper to work with, it’s got to be that way.
“Not one player is guaranteed a place.
“You get there by merit.
“I’m sure Paul will adopt that stance, you get into your position because you want the jersey and you want to play for the club.
“Unfortunately in recent years the players have been playing for themselves.”
During Lambert’s playing career he won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, four SPL titles, four Scottish Cups and four League Cups as well as playing in the 1998 World Cup for Scotland.
Over the years he has developed a winning mentality and McNaught is hoping he can get that over to the players as quickly as possible,
“If you look at the squad as a whole then there are not that many winners in there,” he added.
“There are hardly any players that have won things, and that’s a shame for a club like Aston Villa because that’s why you join Villa – to win things.
“I think the main thing that Paul needs to realise is how huge a club Aston Villa actually is.
“Once he realises that the potential is there.
“Not many people arrive at Villa Park and realise how huge you can be.”