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The USA international usurped Shay Given in the Villans' team earlier in the season and has turned in several impressive performances, to the delight of his manager

Paul Lambert has hailed Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan as "colossal" after Saturday's win at Reading saw the club move three points clear of the relegation zone.

The 28-year-old saved a powerful early header from the Royals’ top-scorer Adam Le Fondre and, despite being beaten by Nathan Baker’s own goal, Villa overturned the disadvantage to emerge 2-1 victors after strikes from Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

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The manager hailed the USA international’s importance to the club, telling reporters: "Brad has been exceptional. He has been colossal for this club. He has made some massive saves for us at big moments.

"He is a very good guy. He is bubbly always and a good character which is important for the team."

Lambert surprised observers shortly after his arrival from Norwich opting for Guzan ahead of the experienced former Republic of Ireland international Shay Given who dropped to the bench.

He believes the side benefits from competition between the two and commented: “We’ve got two top-class keepers. There’s nothing in it. Shay has been terrific for us too. You have to give Shay credit for keeping Brad in the No.1 spot.

"It is big pressure. He has handled it well as Shay is a world-class keeper. But he is doing well partly because Shay is pushing him."

Guzan, meanwhile, says he is happy to have become a regular at Villa Park and wants to improve his game further.

He explained: "It’s good to play consistent football week in, week out. But at the same time, in my eyes, I still need to prove myself. I can’t be complacent, I can’t get comfortable."

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