Football News teamed up with freelance journalist to gets some answers from Aston Villa’s defensive midfield starlet Yacouba Sylla. The Frenchman moved to the Premier League side in January of this year from humble Ligue 2 outfit Clermont Foot.
After spending the best part of 10 months at Aston Villa, how are you feeling with everything in mind?
I am feeling good. It is a complete and utter change for me because I have entered the world of the global footballing elite. A significant change from Clermont.
I do not know many players who have made such a leap from Ligue 2 to the Premier League. I don’t know any in fact. For me, it is a huge pleasure to be playing for Aston Villa.
I am ambitious by nature, I know my strengths. I am not worried about my future. I arrived here in a similar fashion to how I began at Clermont actually, from the unknown. I am however sure I will make an impact. For me it is a certainty.
What have you learnt so far at Aston Villa?
At the very highest level, you have to pay attention to the smallest of details especially on your style of life and those who you surround yourself with. You have to pay attention to your own image. Even if you learn all that as a youth player, my arrival at Aston Villa properly allowed me to professionalise.
The club is attached to you throughout daily life, the staff look after our diets, whether it is in between training or when we are away from work. This all helps us to have less worries about our nutritional levels.
What are you setting out to achieve?
On a personal level, I want to continue to progress and to gain as much experience as possible. Every weekend, I am up against very proven players, who are armed with incredible amounts of experience. I hope to arm myself like they have and become a more mature footballer, but working day-to-day, in all areas of my game without any exceptions. I am a worker and I like that.
How are you dealing with the competition for places and is everyone civil to each other?
I would say yes. After that the manager makes his decisions, like everywhere else in the world of football. Today, I have just entered a completely new world. Aston Villa is definitely not a Ligue 2 side, or so familial like Clermont, where I could be certain to play week in, week out.
We are constantly judged on how we do in training. Then it also depends on a variety of factors that sadly I cannot talk about. However, I am always selected for the squads, which shows that the manager counts on me.
I give a lot when I am on the pitch and that is what he has recognised. I am growing in confidence and that is important for me.
What is your relationship like with Paul Lambert?
I get on very well with him. He likes the players who work hard, and are ready to do anything to make progress, he gives me a lot of advice. Often, I stay a few minutes after training to keep working and I think it is helping me. I am here to impose myself and that is only going to happen by working at it.
He knows that I am someone who is motivated. Everything is going well at the moment.
Is your future at Aston Villa, the club where the supporters seem to really appreciate you?
I have another 2 and a half years of my contract remaining. I am ambitious. I will go wherever the opportunities take me. At this moment I do not know my limits. In terms of the fans, they love the players who give their all on the pitch and that is a primary characteristic of mine.