Following the first set of fixtures last weekend, it was reported that only 33.2% of starting players in the Premier League were English. Throughout the years we have been known for having a core of British players in the first team, underpinned by the fact that Aston Villa Football Club has seventy-two players to the English national team, only one behind Tottenham Hotspur. In the O’Neill era in particular, the England manager was a very regular visitor to Villa Park. This could all be about to change this season.
Looking at the players Sherwood has signed, especially taking into account the transfer fees paid, it is conceivable that the only mainstays in the first team could be
Jordan Amavi is a welcome replacement for Kieran Richardson at left back, whilst Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Veretout have come in for Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley in midfield. Upon examining the attacking players Sherwood has brought in over the summer, they are likely to be starters. Adama Traore, signed yesterday, and Jordan Ayew have come in from bigger clubs than the other new arrivals and for relatively large fees so they are both more than squad players. Potentially, our first team will be made up of Brad Guzan, Jordan Amavi, Ciaran Clark, Micah Richards, Leandro Bacuna, Ashley Westwood, Jordan Veretout, Idrissa Gueye, Jordan Ayew, Adama Traore and Rudy Gestede. The likes of Gabby Agbonlahor and Scott Sinclair will have fights on their hands to keep their places and then we have Carles Gil, who has been told he will have a key role to play this season, and young Jack Grealish to return from injury and add a creative spark to the side.
If we then look at who would come in for Ashley Westwood if he were to get injured or be suspended it would be Carlos Sanchez. If Micah Richards is unable to play then next in line will be Jores Okore, once he is fit. We have seen a real shift in spending patterns and, as Sherwood recently said that shopping abroad offers him better value for money, I expect this trend to continue beyond the 2015 summer transfer window.
It has been a truly fascinating couple of months watching Tim Sherwood re-build Aston Villa Football Club’s squad and I wouldn’t bet against seeing a completely non-British XI line-up for Aston Villa at some point this season.