When Ross McCormack signed in the summer for £12 million, Villa fans believed their team had one of the best strikers in the Championship, if not the best. Since then, things have gone downhill for the Scottish striker.
The thirty-year-old came to Villa Park as one of the highest scorers in the Championship for the last three years running, with a reputation for getting goals, so many expected him to go into the 2016-17 season firing on all cylinders at his biggest club to date in England.
Unfortunately for McCormack, his claret and blue statistics do not make pleasant reading, with three goals to his name from twelve starts and seven substitute appearances. McCormack has scored a goal every 392 minutes so far – and that is certainly not good enough for a man supposedly worth £12 million.
The misery of his first five months at Aston Villa Football Club has been compounded by transfer rumours suggesting moves away from B6, which, to me, are frankly ridiculous. Last week’s links to Wolverhampton Wanderers came as no shock to many, although Bruce was quick to dismiss the rumours as “a total load of rubbish”.
Nevertheless, since Steve Bruce took over at Aston Villa mid-October McCormack has only started on five occasions and has only played the full ninety minutes in one of those five games, suggesting that he quite simply isn’t a player who fits into the current manager’s system.
Speaking to Fulham fans, you will hear that McCormack always “wakes up” after January, scoring more and looking more like the lethal striker who has scored sixty-six goals in his past three Championship seasons.
There is a suggestion that Ross McCormack is overweight, which I disagree with. McCormack has always typically been of a stocky build and the Under Armour kits do him no favours.
The fans have, understandably, started to get on his back with the goals not coming at all in recent months. However, when he is played out wide on the wing, where he is least effective, it is easy to see why he is becoming frustrated himself.
Perhaps a confidence player, McCormack needs a run of games and then I believe he will be firing them in. Now is the time for the Scot to prove himself with Ayew and Kodjia away on international duty and Agbonlahor the only real competition when it comes to leading the line.
Is McCormack failing to fire because he doesn’t fit Bruce’s style or because he is losing his cutting edge? When he came on against Leeds United he tipped the game for us and proved to be a nuisance. If we see more of that from kick-off, I believe we will see McCormack go on a good run of form and be ready to challenge Kodjia for a role leading the line when he returns from the Africa Cup of Nations.
I do not believe that McCormack has lost his ability and hope that it will only be a matter of time before he is scoring the goals that Championship fans have become accustomed to seeing from him in recent years.
With McCormack and Kodjia firing, there is no reason why we will not be challenging for a play-off place come late April.
Give him game time and he will deliver.