Baker enjoying regular role at Aston Villa

The defender feels "comfortable" in the top flight after five consecutive matches and argues that the club's crop of young players can see them through the season
Nathan Baker is hoping keep his place in the Aston Villa side by continuing to impress manager Paul Lambert after breaking into the first-team squad this season.

The 21-year-old has made his way through the Midlands club's youth system, joining at the age of 13 in 2004 before making his full senior debut in the 2010-11 season.

He is now looking to make his sixth consecutive appearance when the Villans travel to Chelsea on Sunday and, having spent time on loan at Lincoln City and Millwall during his career, says that he now feels like a top-flight player.

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"I do feel comfortable in the Premier League now, yes," he told the club's official website. "I've obviously been out on loan a few times which was great for experience when you are young.

"But I'm a part of the first team squad and playing at the moment so hopefully I can stay part of it and keep going. I don't think there is a set number of games you have play to before you say 'right, I'm a Premier League player now'.

"It's just a matter of taking them one by one. Obviously you want to keep playing and playing. The manager has obviously given me my chance to play so hopefully I can impress him and carry on."

The defender, who has featured on three occasions for England Under-21s, has been playing alongside fellow academy graduates Ciaran Clark and Chris Herd in the club's back line this season.

And, with six homegrown players featuring in the 3-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, Baker thinks that the familiarity can help them in the future.

"We all grew up together and we all know what's what with each other so hopefully we can carry that on forwards," he added. "The new lads have settled in really quickly as well."