Steve Sidwell has flown in to Zurich to begin his Aston Villa career, determined to make up for lost time.
The 25-year-old signed a three-year contract with his new club on Thursday but was delayed in meeting his new team-mates as his passport was held at the Chinese Embassy in London.
His former club Chelsea are to play their first ever match in China against Guangzhou Pharmaceutical on July 23.
The £4.5million purchase, admitted that he cannot wait to kick-start a career that was in danger of meltdown at Stamford Bridge. He said: “The passport thing was out of my hands. It was frustrating, really, because all I wanted to do once the deal with Villa was agreed was get out here to Switzerland and start enjoying my football again.”
Sidwell will make his debut in Saturday's friendly with FC Zurich, top flight opposition, on their training pitch in a match which is set to be viewed by just a few hundred supporters.
It matters not a jot to Sidwell, whose career has stagnated in London over the past 12 months following 168 appearances with Reading over four years where he eventually ignited calls for a senior England call after five appearances for the Under-21s, where he got to know the likes of Villa's Nigel Reo-Coker.
“I am absolutely delighted to join,” Sidwell said after finally reached an agreement over the remainder of his Chelsea contract which had led to a delay of some weeks on his signing.
“It’s taken a while but now it’s done I am excited and looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting on the pitch and playing football. It has played on my mind a little but I’ve been professional.
“I am here now and can’t wait to put a Villa shirt on. For me personally, it’s about getting back and playing. I have had a year of not playing as much as I would have liked so to get out on the pitch is the first aim.
“It’s straight down to work, really. I have already done some pre-season with Chelsea but the hard work starts now. I am sure I will settle in fine.”
Villa manager Martin O’Neill, meanwhile, is thought to be stepping up his interest in David Bentley of Blackburn Rovers, as well as American goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Brad Friedel.