Monday, January 30, 2023

Phillips Urges Aston Villa Midfielder To Seal A Move To Nottingham Forest: Should Smith Let Him Go?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent interview with Football Insider, ex-Sunderland forward Kevin Phillips urged Aston Villa midfielder Henri Lansbury to seal a January move to Nottingham Forest when he said, “Yeah I think he will move back to the Championship in January.

“I would imagine that his time at Villa is up. He has had a good little run.

“At times he has come in and done well and scored some good goals, but you not would not say that it has been a huge success.

“With the amount of players that Dean has in his squad now, there was always going to be casualties. It is no surprise that he missed out on the Premier League squad.

“It is down to Lansbury but he looks like a player that loves his football.

“He may go back to Forest, you never know. He might head back there in January and help Chris Hughton tackle the Championship. It would certainly not surprise me if he signed for Forest in January.”

Lansbury’s Reserved Role At Villa Park Recently

The London-born midfield ace has only featured in three matches for the Villans in the EFL Cup, picking up one assist so far. Lansbury was a sporadic presence in Dean Smith’s first-team in the previous campaign when he made 15 appearances for the Midlands club, securing five assists and two yellow cards in multiple competitions.

The 30-year-old struggled to find any consistency with his performances last season as he averaged 0.6 tackles, 0.2 clearances and 0.2 key passes per game in the Premier League. The former Watford playmaker was mostly used off the bench, which explains why his numbers were poor in the last term. Still, he deserves credit for distributing possession relatively well as evident from his pass success rate of 78% in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

Phillips urges Aston Villa's Lansbury to seal a January move (Lansbury is seen in the picture)
Henri Lansbury of Aston Villa during the FA Cup Third Round match between Aston Villa and Swansea City at Villa Park on January 5, 2019, in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

What Does The English Midfielder Offer On The Field?

Lansbury shows great aggression when going in for aerial duels and has got the strength to outmuscle the opposition, which allows him to win a few important headers for his side. He has also got the eye to play a killer pass in the offensive end of the field and is a decent passer of the ball as well. However, the English midfield ace needs to add more goals to his game if he wants to stay relevant at the highest level. He should even prioritise on timing his tackles well so that he can earn possession back for his team at the centre of the park.

Should The Villans Cut Him Loose In January?

It is safe to assume that Lansbury is surplus to requirements at Villa Park right now, so Smith should consider parting ways with him permanently when the transfer window opens again in January. The Villans have currently got Ross Barkley, Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Conor Hourihane and Marvelous Nakamba vying for one of the midfield spots in Smith’s starting XI.

Hence, the West Midlands club has enough strength in depth to cope with Lansbury’s departure this winter. At 30, he is edging closer towards the twilight years of his playing career, so it is only fair to the player for Aston Villa to allow him to leave at the start of next year.

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