Time to face facts
It has been no big secret that this season Paul Lambert has been fielding one of the youngest teams in Premiership history - and although one famous pundit once stated that you won't win anything with kids, a certain Sir Alex Ferguson proved him wrong.
December 28th, 2012
Following our defeats against both Chelsea and Tottenham over the festive period I have come to one conclusion – we are simply not good enough. We can keep playing on this ‘kid’ tagline for as long as we want – but the longer we play on it, the harder it will be for us to stay in the Premiership. The fact of the matter is you are either good enough or not, regardless of your age.
As I have already used Sir Alex as an example I will take his team too. He is well-known for spotting a young quality player; whether it be a Ryan Giggs from his own academy or a Wayne Rooney from somebody else’s. The Scot will give that player time to settle, but should he not make the grade then he will soon be shown the door. This is the exact same approach Aston Villa should have taken.
Now this goes back to before the Paul Lambert era, and possibly back to as far as the Martin O’Neill days. There was a reason why O’Neill didn’t put his faith in some of the younger generation, and maybe we are finding out why now.
Barry Bannan first broke into the first team back in the 2008-09 season and looked a very technically gifted player despite his very small physique. The Scottish International’s first appearances came under O’Neill in the Europa League when Villa lost firstly to Hamburg from Germany and then Russia’s CSKA Moscow. Since then he has found it hard to break into the first team setup, despite having two different managers before Paul Lambert arrived.
Marc Albrighton is another prime example. He broke onto the scene at the beginning of the 2009-10 season (O’Neill’s final season as Villa’s manager). In his first season Marc looked certain to be a future England international; wooing fans and pundits alike up and down the Premiership.
At the time I remember saying that Marc doesn’t have blistering pace so needs to work on his crossing to ensure they count – a little like a certain David Beckham. However, the winger has never quite pushed on from that level and now finds himself struggling to make the bench let alone the first team.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that Paul Lambert needs to accept that we need the experienced players he is leaving out for whatever reason. How many teams in the bottom 4 or 5 can boast players like Charles N’Zogbia and Darren Bent? We need these players more than ever, as well as a few experienced faces to come in during the January transfer window.
So come on Paul, stop being so stubborn and accept your plan isn’t working while the club’s faithful need to get well and truly behind the team – as squabbling and empty seats help nobody.