With the International break putting a halt to domestic football, I often struggle to think of a topic to discuss due to the lack of league games. One thing I thought would be quite interesting is conjuring up my dream eleven of the players from the era I grew up watching.
I was born in the November of 2000 so I missed the days of the likes of Paul McGrath, who my father watched and told me all about and I wasn’t around during the days of Brian Little, who my Grandfather admired and told me all about. I know I was born too late to see some of Villa’s greatest players but there have been some pretty good ones in my years – let’s see who has made my eleven.
This really is the hardest position, as there is only a small selection of players to choose from, Brad Guzan and Tomas Sorensen to name but a few. The man who I am putting in my team came to Villa at the end of his career in 2008, but was as solid as a rock and made mistakes less than any other keeper I have seen. This is the American, Brad Friedel.
Without question, there are only two names that are really eligible for this position in my mind. Martin Laursen and Olof Mellberg. One of my first ever games was at home to Ajax and in this game, Laursen scored a header from a corner, from that moment on I admired him. As a young lad, seeing someone score in such a huge game makes them virtually Heroic. Mellberg was Laursen’s partner and the pair were purely indestructible.
This is another part of my eleven that I am struggling with as I don’t feel that any have really stood out. I would probably go with Dutch left-back Wilfred Bouma. I admired him for his work rate and never say die attitude. It was a real shame that his Aston Villa career was affected by the horrific injury he suffered from. In at right back, I am going for Luke Young. I remember him attacking and defending and being everywhere all of the time. He scored goals and saved goals.
One man has to be in there, the man with the most Premier League appearances ever, Gareth Barry. He was the spine of the club when I was growing up and he was also the captain. He always popped up with a goal and did the dirty work that midfielders do, without all the necessary recognition and for that reason he is in my starting eleven.
Next is Stilyan Petrov. Do I even need to explain? I remember his halfway line goal against Derby County and since then he has been a player that I have loved. I had his name on the back of my shirt when I was around 10 years old. He also fought and beat cancer which makes him an idol to hundreds and thousands but he won me over way before that – on the football pitch.
Ashley Young. Goals, passion and an incredible free kick. The goal against Blues in a 5-1 win always springs to mind. He was an incredible player and I would still have him back in the squad today. Very much the same with Stuart Downing, Goals and assists made him an instant
Very much the same with Stuart Downing, Goals and assists made him an instant favourite and he never failed to perform. Again, I would have him back at Villa today despite his age.
Can only be 2 people for me. Many have their views on Gabby Agbonlahor but he was the main goalscorer in my childhood and countless goals against the City make him an automatic hero.
His partner in my eleven is John Carew. Just such a beast up front, he bullied defenders and scored so many goals, I always remember when he scored and celebrated with that ball boy – So passionate and he appeared to love his time with the club.
The players who didn’t quite make my eleven would have to be my substitutes. Thomas Sorenson, Alan Hutton, Christian Benteke, James Milner, Andreas Weimann, Marc Albrighton and finally – dare I say it – Fabian Delph.
Who is the best player you saw growing up? Let me know down below.