Alan Hutton admits he is surprised to be back in the Aston Villa first-team fold after two seasons in the wilderness under Paul Lambert.
Alex McLeish brought Hutton to Villa Park from Tottenham in 2011, but he fell out of favour when Lambert arrived the following year and is yet to make an appearance under the former Norwich City boss.
Time in the reserves, along with loan moves to Nottingham Forest, Mallorca and Bolton Wanderers are the only club action Hutton has seen since May 2012, with Matt Lowton being preferred at right-back.
However, after five appearances in Villa's pre-season campaign, Hutton is in line to start against Stoke City on 16 August when the new Premier League season starts, and he hopes to seize his chance.
"Hopefully this is like a new lease of life. It has been a long time since I was involved and to be given this opportunity again, who would have thought it would happen? Especially not me," he said in quotes reported by The Mirror.
Despite being overlooked for so long, the former Rangers man holds no ill feeling towards Lambert, maintaining that his fellow Scot has always been a supportive influence, and the two have kept a healthy relationship.
"He always helped me. Despite what happened, we were always in contact and always talking," said Hutton.
"He would do anything to help me, he was always good on that side. It was always positive, nothing bad at all. Never once was there a bad word between us."
In a statement of Lambert's renewed faith in the 29-year-old, Villa turned down an approach from West Brom earlier in the transfer window, but Hutton resolutely believes that he can succeed by staying at Villa Park.
"West Brom did pop up, but I am happy here, I have been given my chance and I want to continue and do my best for Villa. I have been brought back in and am working hard. I can only do my best and hopefully that is good enough," Hutton added.
"It is always good to be wanted, everybody wants to be wanted and loved. But the manager has given me a chance to come in and show what I can do.
"The only thing I can do now is work double hard and show everyone I can play."
Villa host Serie A side Parma on Saturday in their final friendly before the Premier League kick-off.comments