Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Hutton Tips This Veteran Midfielder To Leave Aston Villa: Should Smith Sanction His Departure?

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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, former Premier League defender Allan Hutton has tipped Conor Hourihane, who is currently enjoying a productive loan spell at Swansea City, to leave Aston Villa in search of more game time. Hutton said,

“This is a difficult one for me.

“He’s a fantastic player, I always knew how good he is or can be. He’s gone out and he’s shown that again.

“We know he got tired and frustrated with his lack of game time and he chose the right option.

“You just wonder. Obviously (Morgan) Sanson coming in, and they’ve probably still got an eye on maybe another one coming in during the summer. Would his time be up at Villa?

“I hate to say it because he’s been there such a long time and a good servant to the club.

“If you’re not getting that game time you want and you’re happy elsewhere, you have to stay where you are.”

Hourihane’s Impressive Loan Spell At The Liberty Stadium This Season

The 30-year-old has caught the eye with his performances on loan with the Swans this season after he produced a run of fruitful displays at the heart of Steve Cooper’s midfield. Hourihane has featured in 14 matches for the Welsh outfit this term, netting five goals and providing one assist in multiple competitions.

The Cork-born sensation has done well to average 1.0 tackles, 0.8 clearances, 1.5 shots and 0.6 key passes per game in the EFL Championship. He has even distributed the ball relatively well from midfield as he has completed 79.5% of his attempted passes in the English second division (stats via whoscored).

Hutton tips Conor Hourihane to leave Aston Villa (Hourihane is seen in the picture)
Conor Hourihane of Swansea City in action during the EFL Sky Bet Championship match between Luton Town and Swansea City at Kenilworth Road, Luton, England on 13 March 2021. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Copyright: xKenxSparksx 28430119

What Does The Republic Of Ireland International Offer On The Pitch?

Hourihane is a multipurpose midfielder who can do a bit of everything at the centre of the park. He has a great work-rate and could make life difficult for the opposition as he can get stuck in with a few tackles to disrupt their rhythm at the centre of the park.

The 24-time Republic of Ireland international is a strong presence in midfield who can keep the ball moving with minimal fuss and is not shy of having a shot at goal when left open in and around the opponent’s penalty area. He deserves credit for banging in five goals in the Championship this season.

Should The Villans Sanction Hourihane’s Exit This Summer?

Despite his successful loan spell with the Swans, Villa boss Dean Smith simply doesn’t have the luxury to offer him regular playing minutes at Villa Park. Hourihane will struggle to get into the Villans’ first-team as he will have to go up against John McGinn, Morgan Sanson, Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba next season.

If Smith decides to recruit a fresh face to his midfield department during the summer transfer period, Hourihane will be surplus to requirements at the West Midlands club. Hence, Villa would be better off cashing in on him as his current contract is set to run out at the end of next season. All in all, it is only fair to the player if the Premier League side decides to let him go as he has been a great servant to the club.

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