Looking through the desperate squad we find ourselves currently enduring, it is easy to forget that it’s not so long ago that such a standard was unthinkable.
Even in difficult seasons, or indeed, those where we should have certainly achieved more, there were players who ran until their legs gave out. Players who gave me, delivered in blood, sweat, goals or assists.
In the type of mess that Villa are in, you need quality, passion & a winning mentality.
5 former Villa players we would kill for right now…
It is perhaps a little too obvious to choose a McGrath or a Mellberg, great as they were, but Laursen was something else. Despite having sawdust for knees, the Dane was an effortless defender. Deceptively quick, a fine reader of the game and importantly a leader. Laursen was also a nuisance for the opposition sides threatening from set pieces; one of many arts we have long forgotten.
The loss of Barry was significant in many respects. It signified Villa’s resignation to selling our better players, our inability to match ambitions and the huge gulf opening up financially between Premier League sides.
Barry was a truly accomplished footballer, comfortable in possession and rarely wasteful. This was rewarded with inclusion in the England set up where he brought balance to the then international side. Barry was also versatile, being as capable at left back as much as he was in centre midfield. A calming, solid and reliable influence we never came close to replacing.
Dion would quite literally run through the opposition to win a game of football, even breaking vertebrae in his neck for the cause. Fearless, strong, determined and a consummate professional. Whilst Dublin was certainly kept for longer than was best for both club & player, at the peak of his powers he delivered both in terms of tireless effort and crucially, goals.
Perhaps a choice which may surprise a few, but Solano was a bag of tricks. Whilst we have the promise of raw talent in players like Carles-Gil & Traore, Solano was the finished article. Unexpectedly deemed surplus to requirements at Newcastle, Villa snapped him up and benefited from the Peruvian’s class. Absolutely deadly from the set pieces, he was a smooth operator who could pick a pass & change a game at will.
The important thing to forget about Bosnich is his eventual acrimonious switch to Man Utd & personal problems that followed. The Aussie ‘keeper had everything at his time at Villa. Utterly bonkers for a start, Bosnich would produce sublime saves, was a fine shot stopper & penalty saver. Whilst his kicking was notoriously tame, he would walk into the number 1 shirt if he were around now.