Birmingham midfielder Fran Villalba says he joined the club because he thought it was the best step for his career.

The midfielder joined the Blues from Valencia in the summer transfer window in a move that caught plenty off guard.

The 21-year-old was highly rated in La Liga but elected to leave Valencia when it became apparent regular first-team football was not on offer.

That was something new Birmingham boss Pep Clotet could offer, with Villalba quickly becoming a regular in the Blues midfield, starting seven of their 11 league games this season.

And when questioned why he made the move to Birmingham, Villalba says they were simply the best option to help him advance his career.

“I had teams here in Spain, but after all, I had to take a step forward, I had to look for my future, and I think I chose well,” he told Super Deporte.

“I think we were right because that option was the best for me. Both me, as my girlfriend, as my parents and my representatives, we all knew that we had to go there and struggle through.

“At the beginning, you know that it will be a struggle because it is totally different. I am convinced that we have been right and it will bode well for my future.

“We took a gamble, I decided to go play there because it is a league that I like, that will help me, and hopefully we are very close to playing in the Premier League; that is one of the best leagues in the world.”

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Like most players in the Championship, Villalba makes no effort to hide his desire to make the step up to England’s top flight.

The midfielder may get that chance sooner rather than later, with Birmingham enjoying a solid start to life under Clotet.

They are currently 12th in the table with just four points separating them from the top six, and the Villalba is convinced they can step up, although he admits it won’t be easy.

“I am convinced that the team will move further up the table,” he said.

“We are six points from the leader and four from sixth, which is the one that marks the play-off.

“There’s still time for anything to happen, but it is true that it is a very tough league with 46 high-performance games.

“(There are also) teams that could fit perfectly in the Premier League like Fulham, Sheffield Wednesday, Swansea, Leeds, Nottingham, West Bromwich Albion (who are first), Middlesbrough, Cardiff, Blackburn; there are many.”

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If Birmingham are to succeed this season, they will be hoping for the full support from those watching in the stands.

The club’s fans have had a difficult time of it over the last decade, with financial issues seeing the club narrowly avoid relegation on more than one occasion and lurch from one manager to the next.

That’s not killed off their love for the club, though, something Villalba has noticed despite his short time in the Midlands.

“Clubs are on a different level compared to Spain,” he added.

“There (England) they take great care of the player, and in the stands they support you until the end, win, lose or draw.

“Even if you’ve had a bad result, they support you until the last minute and are very faithful.

“More than twenty thousand people keep going to the stadium every weekend we play. It’s another level, and I am very happy.”