At the start of the season, Tommy Elphick looked like the ideal man to lead the club going forward. He was passionate, very vocal on the pitch and could play a ‘Terry Butcher‘ style with a bloody bandage wrapped around his head. His performances weren’t good enough, however, and the captaincy was given to James Chester. This move, I feel, will bring some much needed longevity.
Chester hasn’t set the world alight by any means, but his performances have been solid and his presence throughout the season has been important. He was part of a back four that had a very long run of clean sheets in the back end of the season. At 28 he is in his prime and I believe he will continue to develop at the club if we give him the chance.
The consensus from Albion fans when he made the short move to Villa Park was that they had lost a good-natured talented player. He has slipped under the radar slightly since he has joined Villa but I, for one, am really looking forward to watching how he fares next season.
He has constantly praised the supporters and seems to really enjoy playing here. I do still believe that getting another top quality centre back to support him and Nathan Baker would be useful, as Elphick has struggled since he arrived and Baker is prone to a lapse in concentration occasionally.
Every successful club needs a centre back pairing that they can trust. We fondly remember the likes of Mellberg, Laursen and Dunne among others because we haven’t seen the likes of them for a few years at Villa. Chester, If he stays and continues to improve, could become a real fan favourite. He is a very good football player and appears to have a good footballing brain. The defender is also solid in the air and is most importantly a level head at the back.
Having Mile Jedinak in front of the defence must make any centre back’s job a lot easier, and hopefully that should entice potential signings to Villa.
I expect Bruce to work with Chester going forward and stick with him as the leader of our team on the pitch. He hardly has a tough act to follow, Lescott and Richards were an absolute horror show at the back.
Someone like Chester is the polar opposite to that, a lad who just gets his head down and plays. He is our captain and I’m certainly very happy about that, we need to get behind him and the rest of the team going forward.