Baker lauds Aston Villa team-mate Vlaar

Nathan Baker has hailed the impact that Aston Villa team-mate Ron Vlaar is having on his development.

Villa academy graduate Baker has forged a central-defensive partnership with the experienced Dutchman this season and the pair were rock-solid in the 1-0 home victory against title-chasing Chelsea on Saturday.

The two have played together 16 times this season and Baker revealed that he has learnt a great deal from Vlaar.

"Playing alongside Ron Is a big help," the 22-year-old told the club's official website. "He's a full international and he helps me, both in training and in games.

"He's a leader, a great skipper, an excellent defender and I feel like I'm learning all the time alongside him in the back four.

"And playing against the likes of Gabby (Agbonlahor), Christian (Benteke) and Andi (Andreas Weimann) in training is also a big help because they have such power and pace.

"Ron and I have developed a good understanding and it would be good to put a few more clean sheets together now.

"If we can do that, or restrict the opposition to just one, there's always a chance of winning.

"For me, it's been a step up from last season and I think I'm improving all the time. Hopefully I can keep learning.

"It's great that I'm being picked at the moment and I can't ask for much more. I want to build on that. The more I play, the happier I will be."

The triumph against Chelsea moved Paul Lambert's side up to 10th, nine points above the relegation zone.