Zog ready to fill Villa void

The pair joined Manchester United and Liverpool respectively for a

combined total of around £35million and N’Zogbia – signed as a

replacement for a fee reportedly around £9.5m – sees their

departures as an opportunity. “We’ve lost two good players and we

have to recover what we’ve lost,” he said. “I’ve been working hard

for the last two seasons, and I know I can replace them, no

problem, if I’m 100 per cent. “I can show people how good I am and

what I can do so for me it’s a great opportunity.” Despite a long

and drawn-out transfer saga with Wigan, N’Zogbia insists there is

no animosity between himself and his former club. “The chairman

(Dave Whelan) was happy for me, having played for them for two

years,” the France international said. “He said I have done enough

for the club and he wanted for me to have a big challenge and find

a new club. “I gave 100 per cent at Wigan and I was really happy

there. It was a club that really pushed me. “Now I have got a

bigger challenge and I hope I’m going to do well.” Villa boss Alex

McLeish tried to sign N’Zogbia last summer, while he was in charge

of Birmingham City, but the club and player could not agree on

personal terms. The Frenchman believes that McLeish’s lengthy

pursuit of his services will help him to settle in quickly. “That

gives me confidence, and it also shows there’s a respect between

us,” N’Zogbia said. “He’s a good manager and I can’t wait to work

for him.” Villa are hoping that N’Zogbia will be able to take part

in tomorrow’s friendly against Portuguese side Braga before making

his league debut at Fulham next weekend. He said: “I hope so, I’ve

been working really hard for two or three weeks so I’m just waiting

to play games and get to Premier League fitness level. “I’ve been

training and working hard and I just need more games now. You can

feel it on the pitch if you’re tired, but I’m not.” The

25-year-old, who scored five goals in the last seven games of the

2010-11 season to help Wigan beat the drop, believes his new team

can achieve much bigger things this year. He said: “Top six would

be a good challenge, and we definitely have the players to do

that.”