Former Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson has spoken out about the appointment of Dean Smith, as reported by Birmingham Live.

The 79-year-old has spent time in hospital after falling ill whilst on holiday in Tenerife, but is hoping to return to England tomorrow.

When questioned, he wasn’t aware that Smith had been handed the reigns but was pleased to see that the former Brentford boss had succeeded Bruce:

 “I am delighted because so far he has done an absolutely smashing job, both at Walsall and Brentford. He truly deserves this step up. Whenever a job has come up I have always promoted him.”

Atkinson also offered kind words for former Villa chairman Sir Doug Ellis, who recently passed away:

“He made Villa Park into a super stadium and that is his legacy.”

Smith was appointed as manager last week, despite rumours that Thierry Henry was set to take over. The Midlands club were linked with a host of other names, including Eddie Howe and David Moyes, but the Villains opted to hire boyhood Villains supporter Smith.

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Smith has inherited a side that has underperformed this season and currently occupies 15th in the Championship table. Reports have suggested that he is already looking to bolster his ranks and the club have been linked with a move for Jamaican prodigy Alex Marshall.

The Midlands strugglers host Swansea City on Saturday, a club they trail by two points. Graham Potter’s side, much like Villa, were tipped for promotion before a ball was kicked but have only shown glimpses of their potential.

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