Player Focus – Barry Bannan

August 10, 2011 by
Filed under: Barry Bannan 

Wee Barry Bannan is set to take part in Scotland’s friendly with Denmark tonight and at 21, has already established himself as a regular fixture in the senior international squad.

Overshadowed in a sense by the barnstorming early season displays of Marc Albrighton, the diminutive Scot has turned the tables this pre-season, impressing in a variety of midfield roles. Bannan’s long ball to Marc Albrighton at Craven Cottage last term which saw the winger dispatch arguably Villa’s goal of the season last year lives on in the memory banks, and the youngster will be hoping for a chance to impress on Saturday having stolen the show away to Fulham under Houllier.

The 21-year-old can play across the midfield and his distribution and range of passing at such a young age has caught the eye of Scotland coach Craig Levein. Having struggled to stamp his authority on the side last season, Bannan was loaned out to Leeds, hoping for regular first team football. Instead he was again overshadowed by another Villa youngster at the club, with the Leeds faithful full of praise for Eric Lichaj.

The limited game time in this loan spell seems to have frustrated the little man and egged him on somewhat this summer to prove his worth to Villa. If he is to fulfil his promise at the club he will need to be given the freedom to roam in midfield, with his intelligence and creativity something that the side has lacked from central areas, from last season in particular.

Having eluted to his small stature many times already, Bannan suffers from a height deficiency all to familiar among Villa’s midfield ranks. I have noticed in glimpses that, not dissimilarly to Delph, Bannan has a tendency to lash out when frustrated or out-muscled, and the Scotland international will no doubt have been working on his upper body strength in pre-season.

The main feature that is hampering Bannan’s involvement in the side is a glut of miniature midfield talent, with the aforementioned Delph joined by the more experienced heads of Ireland and Makoun in those vying for a central berth. Of the four, Makoun is perhaps most likely to start, while Petrov’s presence in the middle of the park, despite being a diminishing one, remains a permanent fixture.

With McLeish’s likelihood to stick to the one up top system in order to compliment Bent’s game, a position in behind the front man is yet to be decided following the departure of Ashley Young and, based on pre-season showings, I sincerely hope Bannan gets first crack of the whip.

2010/11 Bannan Breakdown

Join the new Facebook group and follow our new Twitter page for regular updates on all things Villa at;!/astonvilla_blog


3 Comments on Player Focus – Barry Bannan

  1. Villa Missionary on Wed, 10th Aug 2011 13:52
  2. Should build the whole team around him! By far the best quality footballer down at Villa Park. The rest of the squad need to up their thought processes, as Wee Barry is normally way ahead of them, he often puts the ball where they should be!!!!

  3. rich on Wed, 10th Aug 2011 14:23
  4. hmm its a tough decision, but i’d really like to see ireland get a run in the team and get back to his best. if this happens it will be priceless to us

  5. Tim villa on Wed, 10th Aug 2011 17:11
  6. Buy or loan Parker for the year, having him and makoun would allow villa play the only realistic formation available to us with the group of players we have! Petrov is a liability and isn’t good enough defensively to allow us ever get the best from Ireland or young Barry! Cannot believe the window is coming to a close and it looks like petrov will not only start but have the armband… Outrageous!

Tell me what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!