The man who brought Brett Holman to Aston Villa was shown the door but the Australia attacking weapon will not let that stop him delivering on his Premier League dream.
Alex McLeish’s sacking after a horror season and the subsequent appointment of fellow Scotsman Paul Lambert have changed the dynamic at Villa Park and instilled new hope among frustrated fans.
And it has done nothing to blunt the determination of Holman, 28, as he bids to make a splash in the most watched – and arguably – most exciting competition in the world.
The 53-time capped Holman, snapped up as a free agent by Villa as his AZ contract wound down in January, is already a week into pre-season training with his new club and is keen to conjure some more career mementoes.
“The coach who originally signed me isn’t here anymore, that’s a fact, but I’ve had a brief word with the new boss and he said everybody starts off on a level playing field in his eyes and will have an equal chance,” he said.
“He says I have to show him what I have in the locker and so does everybody else. It’s up to me now, of course, to prove that I deserve a starting 11 spot.”
Holman, if the recent past is any guide, has plenty in the locker.
He was voted the Professional Footballers Australia player of the year, he has been arguably Australia’s most potent presence since turning heads and winning over cynics at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was badly missed as Australia ground out draws against Oman and Japan in its two World Cup qualifiers last month.
“I didn’t want Holland to be the final destination of my career. I was there 10 years so and the hard work I put in has now brought me to England for another adventure,” added Holman.
“I can’t wait to get stuck in. The club had a bad season in 2011-2012 but if you look at the quality we have in the squad, you have to say they didn’t do themselves any justice.
“There’s real ability here and I’m really happy to be a part of it. This is a stronger league than the Dutch league and something I will have to adapt to.
“Moving from Australia was a huge challenge for me and this is another level again on the journey. I will be keeping my head down and keep working hard.”
Renowned for his all-action style, nimble feet, sharp turn, guile and ability to dart into dangerous areas, Holman looks like the perfect Premier League prototype.
“If you look at the speed and sharpness of the training here, it’s something I like,” he said.
”Once we get the pre-season over and done with then I think I am quite well equipped to have a good crack at it.”
Holman has forged a friendship with Villa’s resident Australian and first-team regular Chris Herd, the Socceroo-in-waiting and holding midfielder with whom he could well conjure an instant telepathy.
“Chris is one for the future for club and country and he’s been showing me around the place and just watching him in training you can see he’s an accomplished player, he wouldn’t be here otherwise,” Holman added.
“He’s good on the ball, a hard worker and he would already have a cap if he hadn't been forced to pull out of a couple of squads injured.”
Holman will return to the national fold for the friendly against Scotland in Edinburgh on 15 August, having pulled out of last month’s qualifiers to attend the birth of son Mick.
“It just wasn’t possible to make it for those games in decent shape and I am pleased the all went well with my wife and that my son is healthy,” he added.
“I’m looking forward to getting back for the national team. I always put my hand up, everybody knows that. It’s just this time the circumstances were pretty special.”
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni warned against complacency on Thursday as he recalled Keisuke Honda and Yuto Nagatomo after an injury spell for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Australia.