This week it has emerged that utility player Chris Herd has been back training at Bodymoor Heath, with his father’s help, before his team-mates return next week. The twenty-five-year-old Aussie is hoping to get his career with Aston Villa back on track after only appearing twice last season due to injury and personal reasons.

The return of Herd has come as something of a surprise. I did see a few reports towards the end of last season suggesting that he was out of contract this summer but these were seemingly wide of the mark as Herd’s contract is actually due to expire in June 2015.

His father, who used to play for Falkirk and Partick Thistle, has been training Herd and recently stated that Chris looks “lean and hungry”.

I’m sure many supporters will write Herd off as not being good enough but for me he has never let Villa down and, without being spectacular, he offers some key attributes that we don’t otherwise have in the squad. Herd played nineteen times in 2011-2012 under Alex McLeish, mainly next to Stan Petrov. I always thought, admittedly in a very poor season, that Herd’s reading of the game and steel in the middle of the park were useful. He also made his first Premier League start of that season against Wolves at right back when we had just sold Luke Young and had not yet purchased Alan Hutton. Herd put in an assured display that August day and was flawless in what was a dull 0-0 draw. Unfortunately, we have never seen what he can do in that position again.

The Australian, who has been called up for his national team without making an appearance, has not really ever kicked on from that McLeish season but he offers cover in both defence and in midfield and I for one will be glad to have him back in the squad. Much like Gary Gardner, injuries have really hampered Herd over the last few seasons, although Herd is three years Gardner’s senior. When he has played under Paul Lambert he has mostly been used in a back three at times when we have been struggling. I don’t particularly think centre back is his position but this has tended to be when Vlaar has been absent and we’ve wanted to shore things up.

We are not a particularly nasty side and Herd offers something different. He gets under the opposition’s skin and he gets stuck in. When fit, he has generally been in Lambert’s match day squads. If he is fit and has resolved his personal issues then I would expect him to be in contention come August. With the uncertainty around the club, it looks like we aren’t going to be too active in the transfer market so another body who didn’t really play a part last season certainly won’t harm us going into the 2014-15 campaign.

Will you be pleased to have Herd back? Let me know what you think by commenting below.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Firstly thanks. I always enjoy your articles.

    As for Herd , well, always been a fan of his and I think he will shut a few doubters up if given a decent run.

  2. Thanks for those words, means a lot.

    Looking forward to seeing him back, he sounds motivated and hungry.

  3. Not much to add to a good article ,except toagree Herd’s never say die attitude will add some much needed steel to the team

  4. Great post on Herd. When we have had him in our match-day squad, he has been solid,and has hardly made defensive mistakes. Will not offer too much in attack, but given the state of Aston Villa, I think we must agree that any change can only improve what we have got now. We don’t need to add, why spend millions of dollars on a good midfielder cum defender when you have Herd?
    Herd may also be able to link up with Westwood if we play 4-4-2. He can marshal the defense while Westwood can look to attack, or give the ball to Delph.
    I think Herd deserves another chance.Give it to him Blabbert.
    Sarvesh

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