Aston Villa narrowly survived relegation last season after a strong finish to the campaign.
Paul Lambert’s decision to play young players developed by the club rather than bringing in players from abroad proved a prevailed despite a certain amount of criticism.
With so many youngsters on the teamsheet week-in week-out, the older players have to step up and help them through.
One man who has done this better than anyone is American goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
The 29-year-old had been second best to Brad Friedel for a vast number of years.
When Spurs came successfully signed Villa’s first-choice goalkeeper, nearly everyone expected them to go out and buy a replacement.
However, this is exactly what they didn't do.
Instead they gave Guzan a chance in the first team, and this have proved to be an important decision.
Guzan, who is behind Everton stopper Tim Howard in the pecking order for the United States national team, has stepped up to fill the place of one of the best the Premier League has seen in Brad Friedel.
Manager Paul Lambert recently heaped praise on Guzan after Villa’s 1-0 win over Norwich City in their last league game.
Guzan saved an early penalty from Robert Snodgrass followed by an equally fine stop which prevented Gary Hooper scoring on his debut in the final minute of the normal time.
It is Belgian striker Christian Benteke who is seen as the main man at Villa Park, and although he very often deserves to be seen as just that, there is a player at the opposite end of the pitch that is just as important.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.