Three Difference-Makers For Villa
After a dreadful season that saw Aston Villa get relegated from the Premier League for the very first time, a massive overhaul of the troubled club has now been set in motion after Chinese businessman Tony Xia looks set to buy them this summer, with Euro 2016 still going on.
With life in England's second tier completely alien to the once European Cup winning club, Villa fans will be calling upon their fragile roster to step up and bring them back up to the Premier League at the first attempt next season. Despite their horrendous 2015/2016 campaign which saw them pick up just three wins against Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, and Norwich City, respectively, there are arguably still players within the club ranks who can make all the difference next season.
Today we take a look at three players who could prove vital as Villa battle it out in the Championship next season.
His man of the match performance in Villa's 2015 FA Cup semifinal victory at Wembley put this English youngster's name on the map some months ago. Despite also hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons (check out his recent excursions to popular 18-30 holiday destinations), his raw talent and deftness for the game still shines through on a match day. After being troubled with injuries and a lack of form last season, a campaign to learn his craft in England's second tier could be just what the doctor ordered with many pundits still tipping the 20-year-old to go "all the way" and make it to the England national team setup one day.
After being rather preemptively described as "the best in the world at what he does" (whatever that means) by Kevin Kilbane, Benin striker Rudy Gestede had a turbulent season for Villa in the top flight despite his free scoring antics during his time in the Championship. With the 27-year-old back in a league he knows all-too-well, there's no doubting that if Villa can play to his strengths aka his dominance in aerial situations, the chances are good that he can contribute a lot of goals this season in his side's quest to achieve promotion to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Craig Gardner's younger brother Gary has been on the scene for some time now, but after failing to break into the Villa first team after a series of unfortunate injury setbacks, the 23-year-old was sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest last season and duly impressed. Known for his venomous shot and impressive work rate in the middle of the park, Gardner is certainly one player who is deserving of a starting spot in a Villa midfield that showed barely a modicum of creativity this year. With his loanee club Forest interested in signing Gardner on a permanent basis, the prospective new Villa manager's first job should be convincing the Englishman to stay on at the club by giving him assurances of first team football.
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