It’s time to talk about Westwood

4

It is fair to say that Ashley Westwood is not everybody’s cup of tea. Some loathe him whilst others admire his coolness and composure on the ball. Although it is fine to dislike him as a footballer, it is in no way acceptable to boo him as he enters the field of play. The boos last Saturday came as a big surprise to many Villa fans and I must mention that it was only a minority that heckled him. Yet, booing a player who hadn’t even touched the ball is disrespectful and inexcusable.

Ashley Westwood came to Aston Villa as a relatively inexperienced twenty-two-year-old from Crewe Alexandra in 2012. He was brought in as part of Paul Lambert’s cost-cutting experiment. His Villa career has been marred by the team’s struggling performances on the pitch. He was thrown straight in at the deep end as the Villans battled against relegation for four consecutive seasons. Finally succumbing to our fate, he was part of the team that got relegated at Old Trafford on April 16th 2016; an infamous date in Aston Villa Football Club’s history.

It was one of the worst days ever if you’re an Aston Villa fan, yet Westwood was the only player who clearly showed any emotion as he could not hold back the tears. Compare this to a certain Gabby Agbonlahor, who was subsequently partying in London that night. Nevertheless, Agbonlahor was cheered onto the pitch against Blackburn Rovers whilst Westwood was treated to a chorus of boos.

Personally, I am not the biggest fan of Westwood’s footballing ability. I feel he is too lethargic on the ball and he slows down Villa’s play as he passes sideways and backwards monotonously. In addition, as a defensive midfielder, Westwood is not strong enough to win the ball back. On many occasions, he has backed out of tackles and allowed the opposition a clear run at our defence. Luckily, we have Mile Jedinak, who wins the ball back superbly and has been mightily impressive in recent weeks.

Westwood is very much a confidence player. His best performances in an Aston Villa jersey came under Tim Sherwood as we reached the FA Cup final. His performance against Liverpool in the semi-final was a key part of our triumph that day. Although he didn’t receive all the plaudits, he controlled the game and was a decisive factor in the team’s success. It seems that when the team is playing well, Westwood performs best therefore booing him is the polar opposite of what he needs right now.

It is likely that Westwood will start in our next game, which is set to be one of our toughest games of the season, away from home against Brighton and Hove Albion. Steve Bruce has confirmed that Jedinak will not feature due to his international commitments. Thus, if Westwood is to play, I urge all Villa fans to get behind him, and the whole team.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Westie is a very skill full player BUT he’s also very much a confidense player and needs to be in a winning team and have players around him of the same frame of mind . If the team is struggling he’ll hold the ball untill the right pass is available or he is knocked off the ball which is all too often when Villa are struggling . But play him in a Villa side that is controlling the game & he’s only too keen to get forward to feed the strikers or even make a shot on goal

  2. I feel sorry for Ashley. He is a player in the mould of Michael Carrick. He played well in the semi-final against Liverpool because he was correctly deployed in that game – at the base of a midfield three with legs (Delph & Cleverly) on either side of him.

    At times he has been asked to be one of the two wider players in a three and this just does not suit his game. I have also seen him asked to play one of a pair in a 4-4-2. Again, I don’t think this suits him.

    I think he could play in a CM pair BUT he needs the other player to have energy/legs and he needs a number 10 in front of him. I also think his game is more suited to the premier league than the championship, where you get a bit more time – I prefer Jedi in this division but still think Westy is decent back up for the main defensive CM role, but we have to get the formation right to suit his game.

  3. westwood needs to score more goals,,,, he can do it,,, he needs to get in the box more and his movement and anticipation needs work
    he could be a good player but he can be lightweight and overun
    plus he does not create enough,, he needs to try the long ball or defence splitting pass more often

  4. In my mind Ash is unlucky not to make the last England squad. With players like Henderson, Lallana and Wilshere in the squad, his absence from the squad is frankly disgraceful. We need to give more championship lads a chance and while we’re at it, Gabby should also get the nod, he’s been top drawer for the last 5 seasons and I’m astounded Roy or Gareth haven’t given him a call. Finally, we should try to get Alan Hutton an England call up, the guy is international standard and no wonder England do so poorly without him at tournaments.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here