McLeish hopes Stevens will 'hit the ground running'


NEWS:ASTON VILLA manager Alex McLeish is hoping left back Enda Stevens can quickly adjust to the demands of the Premier League after completing his move from Shamrock Rovers.

Stevens has become Villa’s first capture of the January transfer window, although he signed a pre-contract last summer to make the move to the midlands club on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international was allowed to remain with Shamrock Rovers for the first half of the campaign and competed in the Europa League.

McLeish said: “It will be nice to have another body in the squad and Enda is a player who has got some potential. He’s a young player. There was a wee bit of interest in him and we decided to sign him.

“It is up to Enda to hit the ground running and do well and leave me thinking ‘let’s get this guy involved’. We are hoping he will get to grips with everything, adapt very quickly to put pressure on guys like Stephen (Warnock).”

Dublin-born Stevens had spells with UCD and St Patrick’s Athletic before joining Rovers in December 2009 and helping them to win the league title at the end of his first season. He made his Republic of Ireland Under-21 debut against Cyprus 10 months ago.

Stevens said: “It’s a dream move for me, a dream come true. It was a bit surreal meeting the likes of Shay Given, Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland. They’re massive names back home but they have been great in welcoming me to the club and helping me to settle in.”