Midfielder on a return to Gresty Road
Former skipper Ashley Westwood has heaped praise on Crewe Alexandra ahead of his return to Gresty Road this evening. ’Westy’ will make an emotional return to the side that gave him his break in the professional game and the side that he used to watch as a boy.
Westwood made 138 appearances for the Railwaymen after graduating from the academy at Reaseheath. His time with the club culminated with a key role in the promotion from League Two via the Play-Offs, and while he featured in the opening games of the following season, the midfielder always seem destined to move up the footballing ladder and moved to Villa in the final hours of the summer 2012 transfer window.
The technically gifted midfielder made an instant impression after getting his move to the top with Aston Villa, making 31 appearances and helping the club survive in a Premier League. His performances earned the likeable Nantwich lad, now 23, a new deal with the club.
But tonight, Westy will be coming back to where it all started, and he can’t wait to see some faces that got him where he is today.
Ash told the Aston Villa Official Club website: "I was seven when I joined Crewe's Academy and it was the best possible environment for me," he said.
"My dad is the electrician at Gresty Road and I always thought he had managed to get me in - I never really considered that I might be good enough to one day go on and make a career in the game.
"I loved it, always did from day one. What's in place there, the whole set-up and the commitment to developing players and giving them the opportunity to go and play, it's remarkable.
"There are some tremendously dedicated people there, too many to mention and I owe them so much. The standards expected of any young lad who comes through at Crewe are such that you gain the best possible grounding.
"I lived for football and at the Alex I learnt how the game should be played. That's helped me here at the Villa as it's very similar what we had at Crewe to the ethos and values that are in place here.”