Stephen Warnock has hailed the impact of Aston Villa central defender James Collins this season, labelling him "as brave as a lion".

Collins made the £5million move from West Ham in August and the Wales international has been a rock-solid figure in helping Villa to more clean sheets than any other side in the Premier League this season, 12, ahead of Saturday lunchtime's clash with Wolves.

Left-back Warnock, a summer signing from Blackburn, said: "James has been great. When I came into the club, I didn't know his style of play, but from day one he has impressed massively."

He added: "He never shuts up on the field. He is horrible to play against. Even in training he is aggressive and wants to win and you can see that in every game he plays.

"He is as brave as lion, throws himself into everything, and has been like that since day one at the club. He has played a big part for us.

"To be fair, James and Richard (Dunne) are two of the best defenders in the league on form and been fantastic all season."

Warnock believes his decision to join Villa from Blackburn last summer has been justified by reaching the Carling Cup final, the FA Cup semi-finals and challenging for a Champions League spot.

He said: "That was the idea of coming to the club in the first place.

"If you also ask James and Richard, they will admit that the chance to come to a team like this, with the players already here, meant it was always going to be a team capable of challenging for silverware and the top four.

"That has been proven to be the case."

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Stephen Warnock
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