By Amir Mir
James Chester has revealed Roberto Di Matteo promised him a regular place at centre-half which persuaded him in making a £7 million move to Aston Villa.
Chester moved from Premier League outfit West Brom to their Midland rivals Villa by putting pen-to-paper on a four-year contract with the Championship club.
The 27-year-old stated that playing regular football was a major decision behind his move, as he revealed his proudness at moving to the Midlands giants.
“The reason I came here was to be in contention regularly and be on the pitch more often than not,” Chester told the Birmingham Mail. “I know this division. I’ve played over 100 games here. And when the manager re-assured me that I would be playing centre-back it was music to my ears.
“To come to such a big club like Villa is great. I’m a very proud person. At West Brom it didn’t go the way I imagined.”
The Welshman moved to the Hawthorns last summer for a fee of £8 million from Hull, but subsequently struggled under Tony Pulis’ side making only 19 appearances in all competitions.
However Chester did enjoy a successful Euro 2016 campaign, as his home country reached the semi-finals of the competition with the versatile defender making the most challenges and interceptions of any player at the tournament with 36.
But, Warrington-born Chester admitted his disappointment at not been given a fair crack under Pulis’ side.
“I’m not sure how fair a chance I was given,” said Chester. “But sometimes these things happen in football. I had to move on if I wanted to play regularly.”
“I knew with how last season went my time was pretty much up before it began which is a shame.
“To come here and know that I will be competing to be playing week in, week out, and that I’ve got a purpose to train, is a big boost.”
Chester made his Villa debut against Rotherham on Saturday as he put in a commanding display with captain Tommy Elphick at the heart of the club’s defence.
After conceding four goals in their previous two games without his presence, Chester and Elphick combined to help the side keep a clean sheet, as they recorded a 3-0 victory.
There were 33,826 fans in attendance at Villa Park, as they saw their side notch up their first competitive win since February.
But, Chester wants to now reward the supporters as he aims to use his Championship experience with Hull to help the club make an instant return to the Premier League.
“To play in front of such a big crowd, who are brilliant, is great,” said Chester.
“I knew going to West Brom, I would be used at full-back at times and I was more than happy to do that job, but I expected to be given more of a chance at centre-half than I did.
“That’s where I bring most to the team. I showed it at Hull and I showed it at the Euros. Now the aim is to show it here.”
Di Matteo’s side now welcome Huddersfield Town to Villa Park, with the hosts coming off back-to-back wins, most recently against Newcastle at St James Park.
In other Aston Villa team news, boyhood Villa fan gives his verdict ahead of Huddersfield clash.