By Will Butcher

Liam Ridgewell has described new Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce as a “strong manager”, after his appointment at Villa Park.

The former Manchester United defender takes over at Villa Park in what is his ninth spell as a manager, following owner Tony Xia’s decision to sack Italian boss Roberto Di Matteo.

Ridgewell, now captain of Major League Soccer side Portland Timbers, claimed on his personal Twitter account that Villa have been crying out for someone of Bruce’s calibre “for years now.”

The former Sunderland, Birmingham City and Hull City manager takes over Villa in a dismal state, as they sit only two points off the relegation zone in 19th place in the Championship.

Xia opted to replace former Chelsea boss Di Matteo with Bruce after only one win in 12 league and cup encounters.

Fans, Xia and players alike will be hoping that Bruce can continue his reputation as a promotion expert from the Championship, after four promotions from the second tier of English football.

Ridgewell was part of Villa’s defence for five years after graduating from the youth academy by making his debut in 2003 with the Midlands giants.

The 32-year-old, who also played for Villa’s Midlands rivals West Brom and Birmingham City, made 86 league and cup appearance under the likes of David O’Leary and Martin O’Neill during his time at Villa Park.

Now, Ridgewell is enjoying huge success as skipper of the Timbers, after winning the MLS Cup last term.

In other Aston Villa news, Bruce gave this verdict after putting pen to paper on a two-year deal at Villa Park.