Although it was a very disappointing debut season in the second division of English football, there were definitely a few standout players in the side that carried us to 13th place and for me, Alan Hutton comes to mind.
Hutton has become known as the ‘Scottish Cafu’ in the stands’ as fans adopted the chant for him this season. Of course, we all know that Alan Hutton wouldn’t be classed anywhere near as good as the Brazilian legend, Cafu, but he did have a solid season in the championship and he would be the player of the season is many villans’ eyes.
At the start of the season, under Roberto Di Matteo, Hutton was the second choice to the summer signing of Ritchie De Laet. De Laet picked up a very serious knee injury which ruled him out for the season and Hutton was introduced straight back into the starting lineup, which left some Villa supporters worried after De Laet impressed in the few games he featured in.
Hutton played a huge part in the Steve Bruce revival and was a genuinely a solid fullback throughout the games that he played. I actually got quite worried when we signed James Bree in January because I thought this spelt the end for Hutton. Fortunately, this turned out to be more of a reinforcement and quite possibly one eye on the future signing for Villa and Hutton kept his place in the first team.
Hutton’s hard work and determination had many leaping out of their seat with the driving runs from his usual position which made him seem more like an attacking midfielder, at times. Considering the Scotsman is 32 years of age, he is surprisingly quick, and was winning races against some of the leagues fastest wingers.
He also showed that is not afraid to throw his body in front of a shot and would not hesitate from diving into a tackle to save his team from conceding a goal, which the Villa fans love.
Of course, we are not going to kid anybody by saying there aren’t better options out there and Hutton may struggle to feature in Bruce’s side next season but a lot could learn from a player who never gave up and continued to fight to be involved in the matchday starting elevens.
Overall, I believe that Alan Hutton has a vital role on and off the pitch for Villa, and I would be gutted if he was either sold or replaced in the transfer window. His experience throughout his career will help the younger lads who are currently breaking through from the academy.