Lambert praises former Aston Villa bad boys Ireland and N’Zogbia

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has praised the pre-season efforts of Stephen Ireland and Charles N’Zogbia, the Daily Mirror has reported, after the pair spent much of last season dogged by injury, controversy or rancour.

Ireland has suffered a succession of injuries since moving to Villa Park from Manchester City in 2010 but recovered to play a role last season under Lambert’s predecessor Alex McLeish, to the point the midfielder was named the supporters’ player of the year. The award is given to the player with the highest match ratings across the season.

N’Zogbia, meanwhile, joined Villa last summer in a big-money move from Wigan Athletic, but struggled to impress in his first season in the Midlands. The French winger fell out with McLeish after N’Zogbia failed to turn up for treatment on an injury.

Lambert however has stressed that he has found the entire Villa squad a pleasure to work with since arriving at the club from Norwich City, and commended the players for their attitude. He said: “From the time I have been at the club I’ve not had any problem with Stephen or Charles, whatsoever. I’ve got no problems with any of the lads here. They are a good group.

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