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Reo-Coker a key figure for Houllier
07 Oct 2010 - 10:05:36
Midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has won praise from Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier for his performances in recent weeks.
The 26-year-old had become a peripheral figure at Villa Park under Martin O'Neill, but has been given a fresh start by Houllier and has been a regular starter in recent games.
"Right away I knew that I needed Nigel and I think he has done well for us," Houllier commented. "We needed someone who has got the grit to win the ball back for us.
"Nigel has got a specific job for the team and he is doing it well.
"Don't forget, he had hardly played since the beginning of the season before he came into the side."
Reo-Coker joined Villa in the summer of 2007 from West Ham United and is closing in on the 100-appearance mark for the Midlands outfit.
His revival has also been hailed by team-mate Mark Albrighton, who added: "We definitely want to keep players like Nigel.
"He does the dirty work in the middle and then gives it to players who will create the chances for us.
"I think he had a bad couple of seasons when he wasn't enjoying his football, but the gaffer now has given him a new lease of life."