This time last year, if you had told me that that Alan Hutton was going to sign a new three year deal at Aston Villa Football Club I would have laughed at you. Furthermore, if you’d have told me the Villa fans would be pleased about it I’d have entered into hysterical laughter.
Here are some of the reasons why I would have laughed:
1) He had been a long term member of Paul Lambert’s ‘bomb squad’;
2) Nobody seemed desperate to take him away from us permanently despite him being openly available;
3) The teams that did take him on loan were hardly world beaters;
4) He was pretty much disliked by all Villa fans and had taken a lot of abuse during Alex McLeish’s reign.
Now the unthinkable has happened: having been reintroduced to the first team and having enjoyed a fine start to the season, Alan Hutton has been rewarded with a new three year contract. The old adage that ‘football is a funny old game’ certainly rings true with regards to our Scottish right back.
Amongst all the frenzy surrounding the contract situations of Vlaar, Delph, Agbonlahor and Grealish, the fact that our current first choice right back would also be out of contract in the summer went unnoticed by fans. Like the way Hutton has conducted himself in his return to the first team, this contract seems to have been sorted out with the minimum of fuss.
I was as anti-Hutton has anyone during the McLeish era. I felt that compared to Luke Young he was a poor defender. I found him to be rash and lacking commitment but, looking back, that could have applied to many players during ‘Big Eck’s’ year in charge. I agreed with his demotion from the first team and had I formed my own ‘bomb squad’ he , unlike some of the others, would have been part of it.
Upon signing the new deal Hutton stated that he ‘came in every day’ during his expulsion from first team training. I would suggest that he had no choice as he was still being paid handsomely by the club but agree that he has shown a brilliant attitude by keeping his head down and slotting back into the squad without causing any problems, when lesser men would still hold a grudge towards Lambert and the club.
Speaking of Lambert, bearing in mind I have pretty much always been in the ‘pro’ camp, this contract does raise a few questions. If Hutton is so much better than anyone else we have had at right back over the last few seasons, and it certainly seems he is, then why did Lambert not play him for the last two years when he was getting paid to be here? We may as well have made use of him. Anyway, I suppose this is now water under the bridge and we will never know what went on.
If Hutton has gone from ‘rejected to retained’ then Matthew Lowton has certainly gone the other way; he now appears to be third choice right back behind Hutton and Bacuna. I could also argue that Herd would be picked ahead of him as well. I must admit I have always liked Lowton. He is a good footballer but his defensive positioning at times can certainly go awry. Watching Alan Hutton play this season has served to remind me that, no matter how good a player is coming forward, a full back should be able to defend first. Hutton has been a massive part of a defence that has conceded only one goal so far this season. Hutton coming back in for Lowton has shown that experience and defensive nous count for a lot at the back and, therefore, it could be a long way back for Matt Lowton.
The displays Hutton has given us so far this season are a far cry from those in the 2011-12 season. Villa fans will now be hoping that the performances continue and don’t tail off just because he has signed a new deal. Since his return, Hutton has answered every critic, serving many Villa fans a massive slice of humble pie. Thankfully, it tastes very good!
How pleased are you with this news? Let me know by commenting below.