Chris Herd – Player Profile.
Our latest player profile takes a closer look at one of Villa’s men of the moment, Chris Herd.
After joining Villa as a 15 year old from Australian side Bayswater City (along with Shane Lowry) in 2005, Herd has steadily progressed in the years since, culminating in his man of the match performance against Wolverhampton at the start of the 2011-12 campaign.
To date, Herd has only made eight first team appearances for the Villa, yet I anticipate this to rise considerably should he continue his current progression.
After joining the club, Herd spent a number of seasons improving his skills alongside many other current Villans in our vaunted academy. Success soon followed in the Hong Kong Sevens tournament, and it wasn’t long before Herd was promoted to the reserves, where his versatility and attitude were key ingredients to the sides impressive season.
Herd has also gone out on loan a number of times, and I think it’s great when our players get the chance to experience competitive football in the lower leagues. Herd enjoyed mixed experiences while at the various clubs. His first loan was at Port Vale, and it was eventful to say the least as Herd was sent off against Bristol Rovers, as well as score his first competitive goals as Vale went down 3-2 against Hartlepool United. Herd then spent a month at Wycombe, returning to Villa after four games.
Herd was a member of our successful Peace Cup winning side during the summer of 2009, despite missing a penalty in the final and went on to enjoy a successful loan at Lincoln, where he impressed fans with his all-action attitude, eventually extending his stay until the end of the season.
After a move to Lincoln fell through at the start of last season, Herd continued his impressive displays for the reserves throughout the campaign, including a hat-trick in our headline making 10-1 win against Arsenal. Herd made his premiership debut against Manchester United, coming on towards the end of our heroic 2-2 draw. Herd went on to make his first Villa start in our F.A Cup defeat at Man City and the rest of the season saw a number of substitute appearances before he made his full Premiership debut in our 1-0 home defeat against Wolves.
As mentioned at the start of the piece, Herd’s progression through the Villa ranks culminated with a stellar performance at right back as we drew 0-0 against Wolves at the start of the 2011-12 campaign. A few eyebrows were raised when Herd’s name was included in the team sheet, but he didn’t disappoint with a great display that showcased everything the player is about. What I love about these young players is that like us fans, they have a genuine affinity for the club, and always give 110% while wearing the Claret and Blue. This was perfectly epitomised after Herd’s nasty collision with the post in the first half. After receiving treatment, he dusted himself down and went on to produce a cracking display that rightly resulted in a number of plaudits coming his way. McLeish readily admitted he has a problem with future selections, such was the level of Herd’s performance. While James Collins also chipped in with some encouraging words:
‘Herdy was fantastic. Since he’s come back in pre-season he’s been great. He’s fit as a fiddle and his enthusiasm for the game is unbelievable. I thought he was tremendous against Wolves. He’s a tough boy, he won’t shirk a challenge, he’ll go for all his headers and his great to have alongside you. He’s one of the best I’ve seen in the air. I think he scored a hat-trick from corners with headers in the reserves.’
The recent acquisition of Alan Hutton may mean that rather cruelly, Herd may find chances limited at right back. Still though, what an option to have in the squad. For someone who is only 5ft8, he is incredible in the air, has a terrific attitude to the game and can fit in at a number of positions. You can tell he loves the club, and that is what us fans love to see. I anticipate Herd establishing himself as a valuable member of the squad, who is certainly capable of becoming a first team regular in the future.
What do you think Villans?