Aston Villa news: Steve Bruce praises Alan Hutton fitness and challenges squad

 Hutton has gone from training as an outcast with Villa’s infamous Bomb Squad to one of Bruce’s first picks  When his contract expired in the summer he bounced back again, accepting a massive cut in wages to stay  The Scottish international defender has become something of a cult-figure at Villa Park and steps out against Brentford tonight (WED) with Bruce’s praises ringing in his ears  The Villa boss said: “He’s grasped one thing more than most – that when you get a bit older you have to work harder at it because it doesn’t come as naturally to you as it did when you were 24  “So he works and trains and looks after himself and runs There can’t be a better 33-year-old physically, I think that would be impossible  “He’s in wonderful condition and that’s all down to him

He’s terrific If I had 11 players like Alan Hutton, with his desire, enthusiasm and work ethic, I’d take that every time  “I’ve been here 21 months now and the way he trains and looks after himself and his fitness levels are quite ridiculous for his age  “He never misses training, touch wood He trains and plays like it’s his last day  “No matter what kind of supporter you are they associate with that They know he had a bit of a tough time but he rolls his sleeves up and he gets on with it and gives you everything he’s got, week-in, week-out ” “I think I’ve picked him more than any other player since I’ve been here He epitomises what I want from my players  “Yes, he makes the odd mistake now and again, don’t we all? But by God I love his attitude to being a professional footballer and the way he plays is quite refreshing these days  “Even in the summer he took a hefty wage reduction to stay here

Fair play to him he’s enjoyed the club, he’s our longest-serving player now and long may it continue ”