15. Ashley Westwood

Date of Birth: 1 April 1990
Place of Birth: Nantwich, England
Nationality: England
Position: Midfield
Year Signed: 2012
Signed From: Crewe Alexandra
Fee Paid: £2,000,000

Ashley Westwood is another member of Crewe Alexander’s famous youth academy. He signed his first professional contract in April 2008, going on to make his first team debut a year later at the age of 19. He went on to make one more appearance that season in a goalless draw with Swindon Town. The Railwaymen were relegated to League 2 that season.

The midfielder broke into the first team the following season, going on to score 6 goals in 38 games. Westwood impressed the management so much that he was awarded a new 2 year contract in December, and went on to pick up the player of the season award at the end of season awards.

A further 46 appearances followed in the 2010-11 season, again scoring 6 goals and once again signed a new deal with the club until 2014.

In the 2011-12 season the midfielder contributed to Crewe’s promotion back to League 1.

David Artwell was released in the summer of 2012 and Ashley was made club captain. However, after just three appearances in League 1 with Crewe he was being linked with a move to Premiership club Swansea City.

However, despite the speculation of a deal being done, talks had broken down between the two clubs with the Swans failing to meet Crewe’s asking price. Aston Villa were quick to step in with a deal believed to be in the region of £2,000,000. Westwood signed a four-year deal for then manager Paul Lambert.

He made his debut in a 2-0 victory over Swansea City, when he came on as a second half substitute for Stephen Ireland. The young midfielder impressed in his first season in the Premiership and signed a new four year deal on 15 July 2013.

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