Date: 18th April 2007 at 12:08pm
Written by:

Juan Pablo Angel is away and I’ve seen many a fan this week calling for the exit of Sorensen, McCann and even a suggestion we should sell Mellberg and replace him with Ridgewell.

I’m a keen believer that to do well in the Premiership or any top league, you need a mixture of experienced quality with the odd bit of youth thrown in.

My theory for the last few seasons has been our squad size is just too small. When injuries and suspensions hit you look at our bench and try to guess who is there. We have got by over using too many not ready young kids and its beginning to look like the pressure has told.

Samuel, older Moore, Davis, Ridgewell, Cahill, have hit a brick wall, Gabby was played through a very poor spell, albeit out of position, younger Moore, played too long with an injury, he survived, but will he push on, I hope so. None of those mentioned in my view are of the highest quality yet, although I have hopes for Cahill, Davis, Moore and Agbonlahor.

In all our effective squad now is 20 strong, I’ve excluded Bardsley, Delaney, Sutton and Samuel but included Taylor, Hughes, Berger, McCann, Ridgewell, all who could move away and Osborne,another of those over used unproven kids who I doubt will hold down a regular first team place next season.

If and its a big if, they all leave we would be left with a squad of 15, and of those 8 have played less than 10 games this season for various reasons.

None of our forwards Gabby apart, have over 8 Villa Premiership games which might explain why Gabby apart, they haven’t mustered 10 goals between them.

In addition, of that 15, I’d only class 7 of them as experienced. 7 experienced players in an effective squad of 15, and some fans seem hell bent on reducing those 15 even more, especially the experienced
players. Crazy.

Replace Sorensen, sell Mellberg, get rid of McCann I hear, get real I say, its squad building we need to do and for next season I’d expect O’Neill to do just that. I’d like to see some big names, I’d like to see us competing with the Manchester Utd’s of the world but for now I’d be happy going for players slightly down the scale, simply because we need experience as well as quality, ideally I’d prefer experienced quality.

We have plenty of young potentials, lets see a few experienced heads not necessarily older players mind, just experienced heads and plenty of them.



13 Replies to “Aston Villa – Squad Size”

  • good points, certainly need to bring in more quality and keep the likes of McCann etc as they are useful squad members. Hopefully some of the kids will then blossom and mean less expenditure is needed in the future.

  • You are so right. There is no substitute for experience, it is about reading the game, positioning etc and that does not come overnight. Our youngsters have performed heroically during the past two years and now they need support and help to develop further. By all means bring in some additional players but don’t unload others until or unless MON is satisfied they are not up to the demands of a top of the legue club. There must be backups for all positions. The likes of MU and Chelski can swop players around without reducing the effectiveness of the team. We must aim for the same.

  • Can’t see why anyone would want to replace Mellberg with Ridgewell. Ridge is our 4th choice central defender in my opinion, he lacks pace and often makes silly mistakes. He is a good squad player and if anyone was to replace Mellberg it should be a defender of higher quality.

  • They key thing with this issue is that outside of the ‘big four’, the squad system is still yet to be fully accepted by either players or fans. Whilst I’m sure it would be great to develop our squad to the point where we have 18-20 genuinely top class players all jostling for positions, the truth is only the elite can keep those kind of players happy (and sometimes not even then). Angel’s departure is a case in point – he may be past his best but he still possesses undoubted quality. But now he has slipped down the pecking order, he has left the club. Whatever you may think of him (and I wish him nothing but the best), the option of competing for a place on the bench, let alone the first team, is simply not an option. A second case in point, as regards the general metanlity toward the squad system, is that the minute we start speculating about bringing players in, we automatically also start ruminating on who will be the first to leave. Everyone seems to think that if we go after Bent, Keane, Bellamy etc. that Luke Moore will be shown the door. We have a very cut-throat view of the game and to fully achieve a squad of true depth and quality, it is going to take a radical shift in perspective on the part of everyone which I still don’t think has taken hold in British football.

  • I dont know why Ridgewell hasnt been played for ages but to sell him would be completely *****ed up and a move that i would not agree with one bit

  • Osborne, Petrov, Davis, Gardner, McCann, Barry, Berger, have I missed anyone? Plus the 1 or 2 other midfield players MON might buy. Considering he will buy experience the kids will possibly drop down. Why then the need for McCann, Berger? If you take Berger and Barry out we have 5 midfielders plus whoever is bought competing for 2 places! How will that work?

  • mute points – Osbourne hasn’t been overplayed. If your good enough, you should play no matter what your age. Giggs was on the scene at 17 years old and he is and even better player now then 10 years ago (dito for the famous Utd midfield quartet). So I say play the youngsters if they are good enough. Since the Saunders era Villa have too often opted for the ‘experienced’ (euphemism) player and that is just so short sighted. It’s not good enough to do a Bolton and forever turn over oaps for the sake of short term glory. Thats the Ellis way – no investment in the future. Lets try and build a great team based on youth and then continue to build (unlike post circa 81′ 82′ seasons). Experience is essential but experience comes with playing and not age! UP THE VILLA!

  • MON will obviously allow the players that he feels have no VP future under his management to move on, and no doubt they in turn will be replaced by hopefully better players. There will be no major cull, of that I am sure, but players like Stuart Taylor, Lee Hendrie, JLloyd Samuel need to get fixed up elsewhere, there career’s are going nowhere at Villa Park. Then we have to build on and improve the squad that we have. Only then will we be in a position to make the step up from mid-table mediocrity. Good aricle, comments and observations from avfc48.

  • im all for keeping players if they are good enough for the squad , what i want shot of is the dead wood, those who just cant cut it anymore
    and to be true there isnt a great deal to get rid of yet the players we have can all offer something , the young lads will be better for the experiance of this year and 2 players who must stay are davis and luke moore under no circumstannces should we allow either of these to to be sold

  • We get attached to players that are mediocre, step up or ship out IMHO. Angel, Samuel even Vassell. Seeing SWP last night vindicates that MON is going for the right players, if they don’t want to join us – we just move on to the next target. It’s a different way of life for us now. I remember praying for James Beattie to sign! Be interesting for us all to own up what we actually thought when DJ twins were signed at the 11th hour, we allegedly beat Portsmouth to his signature. There’s going to be some good players up for grabs in the summer, but it’s going to be difficult to persuade really good players to join without the carrot of Europe and a guaranteed first team place. I think we need a keeper, robust/experienced centre half a midfielder and a goalscorer. If they are not significantly better than what we have, we wait.

  • As I keep on saying, Ridge and Cahill should play in home games where teams will play us on the break. Olaf and ML should play in away games where we are put under more constant pressure. It is obvious that for reasons like this we need a decent size of quality squad players. Agree with agentprovocateur, get rid of deadwood but not the good players and add more than we let go.

  • It all takes time. Next season we will hopefully have a better squad than we have now, the season after better still etc. We have a long way to go yet and it isn’t going to happen over night.

  • I suppose its IF the players who are not going to be first team players week in week out will be willing to sit on the bench or play in the reserves week in week out (as Berger has done) for large parts of the season, maybe personal pride would prevent some players staying here to play a bit part. Whittingham left rather than stay on the sidelines, who knows others may follow…

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