Welcome surprise for Hogg

Published Dec. 19, 2010 1:16 p.m. ET

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 going."