Following the news that Chris Herd is sadly out for the rest of the season, it got me thinking about his long term prospects at the Villa, and whether or not people could foresee a place for him in the squad going forward. Unlike the Bannan post earlier, people seem to have a bit more time for Herd, and no doubt this has something to do with his performances on the pitch.
Like Bannan he’s had off the field issues to deal with, but on the pitch he’s fearless, fully committed and gives his all for the cause. Fans usually react well to this type of player, and given his versatility he’s a valuable squad player to have around.
I’m still not sure of his best position but if pushed, I’d probably like to see him in the midfield area. Perhaps last year I would have said right back, but given Lowton has by and large impressed there, it’s tough to see him getting a consistent run there. With the addition of Sylla there is less of an immediate need for the defensive work he brings, but I’d be happy to have him in any Villa squad going forward, regardless of the league we find ourselves in.
Much like Bannan, at the moment it’s tough to see either playing every week, but again that could change depending on the system used etc. He’s not blessed with tremendous quality, but as mentioned he puts in a good shift. Is that enough for a Premiership team? Tough to say, but personally I like what the player brings when he does play, and it’s good to have someone in the squad who actually puts himself about.
What do you all think regarding Herd’s future at the club, and the position you would prefer to see him in going forward? Here is a selection of comments:
@upthevillanews definite future for him. He’s a good dm with bite and pressure which is what we need. Others stand off too much
— Nathan Thomas (@nathan_thomas18) March 14, 2013
@upthevillanews Not really, if Sylla emerges as a 1st-choice CM. Utility players are useful, but he should prefer playing more elsewhere.
— MattVillan (@dvtavfc) March 14, 2013
@upthevillanews Lacks ability but makes up in passion and pure effort. A good squad player, a Lee-Hendrie-esque role to play at Villa.
— Mark Rigby (@riggers_89) March 14, 2013
@upthevillanews on the bench/transfer list
— Will Morris (@will_morrisavfc) March 14, 2013
@upthevillanews he’s a good squad player who can right back.center back and center mid and young who can only improve and he loves Villa
— Daz Hinton (@dazhinton1982) March 14, 2013
@upthevillanews right back, full of passion, we need to keep him
— Daniel Anderson (@B23dan) March 14, 2013
The good news today is that Herd’s ridiculous red card has been rescinded so he will serve no further suspension. This is all well and good and of course is the right decision. Does it help us now though? Not really. I’d recommend giving his original three match ban to the officials, but there you go. Over at our Facebook page we’ve been having great discussions on what can be done in these situations, with the common consensus being that a replay system for incidents like this would be most welcome. I’d agree and for all those who say the flow of the game will suffer, just take a look at how long it took for the officials to sort everything out on Saturday. Surely someone can look at a replay during this time, and make the right decision that doesn’t cost us the match. Over to you FIFA.
Now on to the Barry Bannan situation and the latest news is that he has been suspended due to recent events. Here is what McLeish had to say on the matter:
“Barry Bannan has been suspended while the club carries out internal enquiries into allegations which arose last weekend.”
“He will not be available for this weekend’s game at Sunderland.”
I’m loathe to comment too much on this, but there can be no doubt that the club have made the right decision. I’m hoping whoever comes in on Saturday takes their chance, and that the team regroups this week and puts in a committed performance on the weekend.
Good to see that Herd is available, and I hope he keeps his place after his top performance last time out against West Brom.
After only being able to watch the first half of Saturdays match, this week there will be no player ratings as I am unable to offer any kind of accurate assessment.
Regarding the first half, and ultimately the match, it all came down to one moment and that was the ridiculous sending off of Chris Herd. At the time I was amazed, and still over 48 hours later can not believe the officials came to that decision. Never in a bazillion years is that a red card, and it’s so unfair on a player who has only just come back and who was having a very good game. He made a few mistakes, but more often than not won the ball back immediately and offered us some bite in the middle of the park that we have been sadly lacking in recent times.
This one moment changed the match, and McLeish has said today that he plans to appeal:
“It’s a poor decision on the day by the official. These things are not deliberate – he’s made an honest mistake.
“It’s a shame that he’s guessed the decision, rather than seeing anything.
“No doubt about it, looking at the pictures again Chris has done nothing wrong.”
This is all well and good, and so we should but the fact of the matter is that even if/when the red card is rescinded, it won’t bring back the three points that were there for the taking. I’m sure we would have gone on to win the game comfortably had we kept eleven men on the field and it’s such a shame that the officials got it so wrong. As mentioned I didn’t see the second half but set-pieces clearly need working on, and we cannot continue to make these types of mistakes. As already proven in the last couple of games, they will be punished. Sunderland are up next and I hope we re-group, and at least play with passion and purpose. The fixtures get ugly pretty soon, so it is important to amass all the points we can as soon as we can. None of us want a repeat of last season.
Up the Villa.
In a pretty good initiative on Villa’s part, fans are now given the chance to vote on the man of the match after every game, with the overall winner (highest point accumulator) being named player of the month. Anything that get’s the fans involved is a good thing and this has resulted in Mr Gabriel Agbonlahor being named our player of the month for August.
After each match, the player with the most votes is awarded three points, with two for second and one for third. Our top five is as follows this month, with Agbonlahor taking the crown after receiving more individual votes than Fabian Delph in second.
1st: Gabriel Agbonlahor (4 pts)
2nd: Fabian Delph (4 pts)
3rd: Shay Given (3 pts)
4th: Chris Herd (3 pts)
5th: Barry Bannan (3 pts)
Agbonlahor earned four points from finishing second against Blackburn and Wolves while Delph finished third against Fulham and first against Blackburn.
It seems that our fans can read a game pretty well as Given won the Fulham vote, Herd won it for Wolves while Bannan was first against Hereford. All correct decisions in my opinion.
For me personally the player of the month would have been between Agbonlahor or Given, with Given just about pinching it if I was pushed. They’ve both started the season in fine form though, and that’s all that really matters.
Agbonlahor seems to have recaptured the form which makes him so dangerous, and even though I still would ultimately like to see him as a striker, he’s looked very impressive playing on the left hand side. He’s already popped up with two important goals, and his celebration against Everton tells you everything you need to know about how much the Villa and it’s fans means to the player, great to see.
Fabian Delph has the makings of a top player, and it’s great to see him getting more game time as he looks to develop into the player we all hope he can be. After a hugely impressive start to the season, his performances have slightly tailed off in the last couple of games. Still, the potential is there for all to see, and at 21 he has plenty of time to develop into a top top player. At times he seems to be trying too hard, and this does on occasion cost us, as shown when conceding a needless penalty against Everton. There is plenty more to come though from this exciting young talent.
Given has been somewhat of a revelation, and already a candidate for ‘signing of the season’. He clearly needed to be playing, and it’s great that he is for our football club. He was sensational against Fulham, and has performed well in just about every game to date. We’ve always been aware of his goalkeeping qualities but what I love seeing is how he seems to be inspiring the rest of the defence to up their games. Collins and Dunne look like the players of a couple of seasons ago, with Dunne in particular excelling with his International team-mate behind him. A brilliant bit of business on our part.
Chris Herd has only played the one premiership game this season, but what a performance it was. He was sensational against Wolves, and kept an England winger (Matt Jarvis) extremely quiet, eventually resulting in his substitution. Phenomenal in the air, strong in the tackle and has a terrific attitude to the game. He almost knocked himself out in the aforementioned game, after colliding with a post yet stayed on the pitch and was correctly awarded Man of the Match. Like many of the youngsters, he has a genuine affinity with our club and plays like a fan, always giving 110%. Expect more from this versatile young star.
And finally we finish with Barry Bannan, who you get the feeling is on the brink of something very special. Us fans have been aware of his talents for a while, and on the occasions he has played this season, he has looked a star in waiting. Blessed with an otherworldly left foot, he also has a football brain that belies his young age. He was awarded man of the match for the Carling Cup game against Hereford, and you feel this may be the first of many. He has shone for Scotland this season, has impressed when coming off the bench for us and you feel a starting role is just around the corner, perhaps this weekend against Newcastle. Like Herd he has a genuine connection for the club, and I’m incredibly excited to see what he can achieve this upcoming season.
So how about you? Let us know who your player of the month is for August by getting in touch either here in the comments section, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages (links above).
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?