Aston Villa boss Lambert: No rift with Holman

The manager has insisted he has no problem with the Australian international despite openly discussing his discontent at a lack of first-team opportunities at the club
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has dismissed suggestions of a falling out with Brett Holman despite the midfielder publicising his frustrations at a lack of first-team football.

The 29-year-old was a regular starter for the relegation-threatened side in the first half of the season, but has made just three substitute appearances since the middle of January.

And, while he was away on international duty, Holman revealed he had barely spoken to Lambert regarding the reasons of his dropping - but Lambert insists there is no ill feeling between the pair..

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"I've had a good chat with him," Lambert told the Birmingham Mail. "He is an experienced player and has done really fine since he's been here.

"You don't want people to sit and be happy when they are not in the side, you want them to be unhappy.

Lambert added that he has reassured Holman - who was signed on a pre-contract agreement by previous manager Alex McLeish - his lack of action was not due to failings on his behalf but because of the impressive form of his positional rivals.

"He couldn't get in because Charles [N'Zogbia] was playing extremely well. I've got to pick a team that can win a game."

The former AZ Alkmaar attacking midfielder returned from international duty with a hamstring problem which ruled him out of the defeat to Liverpool, and he was an unused substitute in Saturday’s win at Stoke.