Charles N’Zogbia was today hailed by manager Paul Lambert as the player who can provide Aston Villa with the X-factor in their bid to beat the drop.
The French midfielder, 26, inspired the claret and blues to a 2-1 win over West Ham which helped them climb out of the Premier League relegation zone.
N’Zogbia won the penalty for Villa’s opening goal scored by Christian Benteke and he got his name on the scoresheet with a well-executed free-kick.
He was later substituted with a knee injury which will be examined by the club’s medical staff today.
And Lambert was full of praise for N’Zogbia who has started to look like someone worth the £10m Villa paid Wigan for his services in July 2011.
“The free-kick was world-class, an absolute world-class goal. He’s got that. He’s a really talented footballer,” said the Villa boss.
“To be fair, over the last couple of months he has been excellent. He was unlucky because he had a bad injury with his knee.
“That kept him out for six weeks or so. Since he’s come back into the fold he’s been excellent. He has been very good.
“He can provide the X-factor. These types of players are not easy to come by. He’s just hurt his knee. Hopefully he will be OK. He has a fortnight’s break so hopefully he will be OK.”
Lambert was also happy that his defence managed to keep the Hammers at bay in a tense finale to the game as they peppered the Villa goal after Ashley Westwood’s own goal.
“They deserve a lot of credit. They have taken a lot of knocks. It’s funny football because we are only three points behind Newcastle. There’s not much in it,” added Lambert.
“The defence were excellent. Some have had long trips away during international week. I am delighted for them.”