Date: 24th December 2010 at 9:14am
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Daniel Grigg says: Wouldn’t Liam Ridgewell be great for Villa now?

You can’t help thinking that looking at Aston Villa right now, they could have done with a Liam Ridgewell at the club; especially looking at the form this season of some of Martin O’Neill’s signings.

Stephen Warnock has had a terrible season, which early on saw him one of the most culpable for that that horrible 6-0 defeat against Newcastle. Despite improving a bit since, he’s never even begun to show the sort of form this season that befits an England player, even with the England team struggling this year and being widely castigated in the press. Seems amazing now that Warnock was even picked ahead of Leighton Baines for the World Cup squad, when you look at how they’re both performing now; while Baines continues to impress with goals and assists, Warnock struggles to mark wingers and gives away needless free kicks which build more pressure on the central defenders and the slightly more error prone than usual American goalkeeper.

Ridgewell, despite an excellent season at left back where he has been equally as good in my opinion as both Roger Johnson and Scott Dann, who are often far more lorded, was of course when he left Villa still considered as a player best used in a centre back position.

With Richard Dunne out of favour, the need for good cover at centre back is strong again, despite a good showing this season from Ciaran Clark, even when playing in midfield. With Ridgewell’s contract at Birmingham still with another 2 and a half years left before it runs out, the chances are limited of Birmingham selling the man they bought from Villa for just £2 million in 2007.

Despite all the excellent youngsters in the team now, how much better would the side have looked recently if Martin O’Neill hadn’t sold Gary Cahill and Liam Ridgewell?

Gerard Houllier will probably need to find a player or two of that quality to play at the back, if Villa are to advance significantly back into the top half of the table or even to challenge for a place in the Europa League next season.

Daniel Grigg