Welcome surprise for Hogg

The 22-year-old was yet to make a senior appearance for Villa

heading into the 2010/11 campaign, with his only first-team

experience having come during a loan spell at Darlington. He has,

however, become a regular this season, with Villa’s crippling

injury list having played into his hands. With the likes of Nigel

Reo-Coker, Stiliyan Petrov, Fabian Delph and Steve Sidwell having

all spent time on the sidelines, openings have arisen in midfield.

Hogg has snatched his chance with both hands, having progressed

impressively since being handed a Premier League debut against

Manchester United in November. Since then he has been an

ever-present, allowing him to pick up invaluable top level

experience. He admits his endeavours this season, which have also

included Carling Cup and Europa League run-outs, have come as

something of a shock, with the first-team door having appeared

closed to him over the summer. “At the start of the season when I

played in Vienna, I didn’t think I’d be playing in the Premier

League, Carling Cup and Europa League in one season,” Hogg told the

Birmingham Mail. “So I am a bit surprised, but I’m loving every

minute of it. “I want to keep working as hard as I can and for as

long as I can in both training and in games and hopefully I’ll

continue to get games. “I started training with the first-team most

of last year regularly, and obviously most of this year, and it’s

been good. “I’m starting to feel part of the first-team squad now.

Once you’re in there you don’t want to think ‘yeah, I’m in’ and

stop there. I want to keep going and pressing on. “Once you have

been playing, you get a taste of it and you just want to keep