The Not So Great Dane?

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Nicklas Helenius has been one topic of conversation amongst some Villa fans over the past couple of weeks. Why is he hardly getting a sniff?

When Helenius signed from Aalborg in the summer, Lambert stated that he is “one for the future” and that he would need time to develop in order for him to become a better striker.

In pre-season games, Helenius netted twice and looked quite impressive although the opposition on the whole had nothing on most Premier League teams.

Helenius looked dangerous in the air but it was evident that he wasn’t neither the quickest nor the strongest player to don the claret and blue shirt. This is why Lambert stated that he needs time to improve – he needs time to develop strength, power and speed.

Now, nearly six months on, the Dane has not featured heavily this campaign and there is growing concern amongst Villa fans that Lambert has not been impressed with what he has seen on the pitch or in training despite being a man who has belief in his players.

Helenius scored his first Villa goal in the FA Cup third round against Sheffield United and Lambert publicly praised him, saying: “I thought Nicklas did well when he came on. It was a great goal he scored. He’s had a bit of a hard time since he’s been here.” This is when we realised that Helenius has, presumably, been struggling to adapt to the intensity of the Premier League.

Lambert bought Libor Kozak from Lazio and now has Grant Holt from Wigan Athletic on loan. This has led some Villa fans to believe that Lambert is being unfair on Helenius as he is not giving him a fair crack in the league. I can guarantee that Lambert knows Helenius better than us so we have to accept he’s making the right call.

Is Helenius struggling to get to grips with the intensity? Is he home-sick? Is he simply out of his depth? I believe that Lambert has better options around him at the minute and that Helenius is finding it hard to compete, especially when all of the forward options are fit. Currently, Helenius is fifth in the pecking order behind Benteke, Agbonlahor, Weimann and now Holt – who is likely to be back-up for Kozak.

If Helenius wants to begin playing more in the Premier League, he needs to develop his strength and power. Indeed, he is probably in the process of doing so. However, it is a long process and developing the strength required to compete at this level will take time.

Does he have what it takes to adapt and become a decent asset for Aston Villa? Who knows? Things are not looking promising for him at the moment and I believe we could see him being sent out on loan either this month or in the summer so that he can get some game time.

 

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I am a print journalism student at Nottingham Trent University.

You will see my articles published at www.avillafan.com every Wednesday.

You can contact me on Twitter: @Jim__Wills.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Is there anything wrong with Helenius ? It seems that it is easy for fans to jump to the conclusion that there must be , yet Lambert has praised him for the goal he scored in the defeat to lowly Shefield Utd
    http://www.avfc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10265~3606831,00.html

    yet despite the praise he did not feature in the Gooners match , and it was the much maligned Weimann who came on . Strangely it was the innefective Weimann who Helenius replaced as the support striker to Benteke , with Weimann moving to replace Tonev out wide . So could this be the problem , and that Lambert is trying to give Weimann every opportunity to regain the form that seccured him a new contract @ the end of last season , to the detriment of Helenius ?
    Certainly Helenius does not seem to be a target man despite his height , so is Weimann keeping Nick out of the squad ?
    Or could there be other squad related issues Lambert needs to sort out ? Certainly untill the return of Albrighton Villa have lacked any real wide players , as Tonev is only now becoming into contention as a wide player limiting the amount of formation options

  2. Colin,
    Some very valid points in your comment. I dug the quote from Lambert off the Sky Sports website (forgetting to reference) so I used that.

    At the minute I just think that Lambert does simply not believe that he is good enough, which explains the absences. I just wanted to delve into the many reasons why he is not featuring.

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