Barry Bannan is buzzing about being involved in the Paul Lambert era after experiencing the positive vibes during his first meeting with the new Villa boss.
Bannan was introduced to Lambert at the weekend when the midfielder and the manager both took part in the club’s kit launch festival at Villa Park. And the Scotland man is confident his compatriot can crank up the feelgood factor when the new Premier League season kicks off.
“I met him for the first time on Saturday at the kit launch,” said Bannan.
“I’ve been away on holiday and, luckily enough, when I came in the gaffer was here as well. I spoke to him and he sounded very positive.
“I used to follow him as a player at Celtic, but apart from the Norwich games last season, Saturday was the first time I’d really seen him.
“I looked up to him as a player at Celtic when he was playing with Stan Petrov and people like that.”
Bannan could tell from his brief visit to Villa Park on Saturday that the mood of the supporters has been boosted by Lambert’s arrival.
And the 22-year-old insists the players are excited about working with the new manager when they start pre-season training on July 5.
“There’s a real positive vibe about the club and that’s great to feel,” said Bannan. “I was meeting and greeting fans at the kit launch festival and you could really feel the positivity of everyone associated with Villa.
“That comes from having the new manager join. It’s echoed by the players too.
“We’re excited and we have a real buzz now as we approach the return to Bodymoor for pre-season.
“We all can’t wait to get back and show the gaffer what we’re all about. We are really excited. It’s a new start for everyone.
“The manager has had a great start to his career and he’s still only young. He’s done really, really well.
“Hopefully he can come in and lift this club up and get us where we want to be.”
Bannan was impressed by Lambert’s Norwich team last season and has received glowing reports about the manager from some of his friends who were part of the Carrow Road revolution.
“It was a very good team,” he added.
“They got two promotions in two years and then they got into the Premier League and people were doubting them because of their squad.
“But he made a few great signings and then they ended up mid-table. That was an unbelievable achievement for Norwich, so for the gaffer to do that was brilliant.
“I know a few of the lads at Norwich.
“There’s a boy, Russell Martin, who I know from the Scotland squad, and there were two boys he signed from Leeds, Bradley Johnson and Jonny Howson that played for him as well.
“So I know a couple of boys that have worked under him and they’ve got nothing but good things to say about him.
“I think if you ask anyone that’s worked under him, they’ll say the same thing, just that he’s been brilliant and he plays the game the way it should be played.”