By Villa News Speaking to Alan Hutton

22nd Sep, 2023 | 8:10am

We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park…

Alan Hutton expects more from Nicolo Zaniolo, saying that the new Aston Villa signing still needs time to settle down in the West Midlands.

Zaniolo, 24, joined the Villans on loan from Galatasaray on 18 August and on Thursday night (21 September), he made his fourth appearance of the season for the Premier League club.

However, it wasn’t exactly a night to remember as Zaniolo was booked and substituted off in the 67th minute as Aston Villa lost 3-2 away at Legia Warsaw in the Europa Conference League.

Zaniolo hasn’t set Villa Park alight since his arrival from Galatasaray but Hutton believes the Italy international needs more time to get his bearings, suggesting that the recent international break didn’t help.

“Zaniolo is a very good player,” Hutton told Villa News.

Technically, he’s very gifted with some really good touches and he’s got an eye for a pass.

It’s going to take him some time to settle in because he went away on international duty as well so I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight.

But they’ve got a real player there when he gets up to speed, he gets going and he understands what the manager is looking for.

He’s kind of like Diaby a bit. Well, he’s different in that he’s not got the pace but he’s got an eye for a pass, he’s got that little bit of magic about him.

Given time, I hope he will be an outstanding player for Villa.”

Villa’s group-stage campaign in the Conference League could not have gotten off to a worse start in Poland on Thursday night.

After one game played, the Villans are bottom of Group E and next up for them is a home clash with Bosnia & Herzegovina side Zrinjski Mostar, who beat AZ Alkmaar 4-3 on Thursday.

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