This week, the Aston Villa players made their way back at Bodymoor Heath, with fans hoping they can show their potential in the Championship.
Alan Hutton is one player I thought may have bitten the bullet after last season’s performances. Is there a way back for the Scotland international under Di Matteo?
When I speak of Alan Hutton, I see him as the player bought by Alex McLeish all those years ago along with Charles N’Zogbia when I formed less than positive opinions of the Scot in claret and blue.
Once Paul Lambert had taken the hot seat, it appeared that Hutton’s days at Villa Park were numbered until he enjoyed a successful pre-season and Hutton scored a goal against Nottingham Forest to win us the game. From then on, he has been included in the squad regularly and Villa fans were more than happy to give the Scot a second chance.
Like everyone else at Villa last season, Hutton did not showcase his limited talent, try as he did. Many questioned whether he could fulfil the role of a solid wing back given his poor crossing, lack of speed in getting back and, at times, shocking defending. It’s no wonder that many of the Villa faithful lost faith in him and, like many other players in the team, wondered whether he deserved his wages. What was surprising was that so many admired his efforts, even when they proved fruitless, and regularly chanted his name.
I’d regard Hutton as being a back-up player and not an impact one. Now that we are in a different league, Hutton might still feature in the plans of Roberto Di Matteo. I definitely cannot see him as the new manager’s first choice right back but perhaps he could be a useful player if needed. I feel he has good attributes as a player. At times he has been given man of the match performances for gutsy defending, although he has not done enough to prove that he has the quality to be number one in that role. With the Championship being much more open, Hutton might be more suited to the league and therefore a good back-up player for the club. What he brings is experience from the top leagues and he’s been at this club for nearly five years now and previously at Spurs so he should hopefully understand how important it is to the fans to get promoted. When Villa lost to Swansea away at the end of Garde’s managerial spell, Hutton was one of the few players to walk over to the away fans and thank us for the support. He may be a poor player at times but he at least has shown some level of commitment to the cause and been respectful to the fans.
If I were Roberto Di Matteo, I’d look at Hutton and the right back position and search for other players to fill his role. I think Di Matteo can relax about the right back position: we still need a quality right back but Hutton isn’t the worst short-term option in the Championship. I hope for his sake he can prove to us all how good and professional he can be in the new league. Let’s hope for some bright performance when he does make appearances. However, if an offer does come in for the Scot then I feel that Di Matteo should take it as once we get back to the Premier League Hutton won’t be any use to us.