Many of us have probably been caught up in the recent wintery showers that is currently hitting the UK so to lighten the mood a little I thought I would have a little fun with my article this week and talk about my all time ‘Ex-Villa XI‘.

The players are those who still play professional football but have moved on to pastures new. There may be some surprise selections but this is of course my view, but be sure to share your view and even team in the comments section below. So let me talk you through the players I have chosen and we can even think about what may have been had Villa managed to keep hold of them.

GOALKEEPER

The goalkeeper position is probably one of the harder selections of the whole team. A lot of our former goalkeeprs have now hung up their boots such as David James, Thomas Sorenson and more recently Brad Friedel.

The player I have opted for will come as a surprise for most but just like Friedel, he is a fellow American, Boaz Myhill.

You have probably forgot about his 9 year time at Aston Villa mainly because he didn’t made a single appearance in Claret and Blue despite coming through the youth system all the way to signing a professional contract with the club in 2000. He left in 2003 for Hull City where he made 257 league appearances. He is now a backup for Ben Foster at West Bromwich Albion.

My substitute goalkeeper would be fellow American, Brad Guzan, who now plays for Atalanta United.

RIGHT-BACK

Ex Villa right back now plays for Manchester CityThis position is a no-brainier for me, as the player I have chosen is one of the best current full backs in the Premier League. His time with Villa was only a loan spell when he spent half a season at the club, playing 18 games and scoring 2 goals.Can you guess who it is?

It’s Manchester City and England player Kyle Walker. The fast right-back played for us on loan the season before his big breakthrough year at Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Manchester City in the summer of 2017.

CENTRE-BACKS

Villa have had their fair share of centre backs over the years. Some have gone on to become iconic and even legendary but all of them now have different careers. There are a few Premier League centre-backs that used to play for us so it will be a tough decision on who I choose.

My first centre-half will be Chelsea defender Gary Cahill. Cahill is another player who cam through the academy but left the club in 2008 to join Bolton Wanderers. He then moved on to Chelsea where he has won several major honours and has picked up 58 caps with England. His most noticable moment at Villa Park would have been his famous volley against Birmingham City.

While thinking about who would partner Cahill a few players came into contention. Curtis Davis, James Collins and Nathan Baker all came to mind but I am going to opt for Newcastle and Republic of Ireland’s Ciaran Clark.

He helped guide the Geordies back to the Premiership last season and has featured for them in their bid to stay there this season.

LEFT-BACK

Amavi missed the cutThe two main natural left-backs I can think of is Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Marsaille’s Jordan Amavi.

I think I will have to go with Bertrand who was another player who had a loan spell with the club. He is now one of England’s best defenders and will surely be on the plane to Russia this year.

RIGHT MIDFIELD

Something I like in a wide sided midfielder is someone who has the abiity to cross the ball for big target men. So naturally I will choose Villa supporter Marc Albrighton who now plays for Leicester.

Since he left Villa on a free transfer he has gone on to with the Premier League with Leicester contributing with both goals and assists.

LEFT MIDFIELD

The left-winger is a no-brainier for me, this guy has improved a lot this season for Manchester United and by becoming versatile makes him an important player for José Mourinho.

Ashley Young scored 30 league goals during his 4-year spell at Villa before moving onto United where he has helped them to several honours.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD

I like work hourses in the middle of my side who will fight until the end for his team and manager.

Milner was a fan favouriteI have opted for James Milner who had two different spells with Villa and was a massive favourite amongst the faithful. He had a loan spell in 2005 from Newcastle before joining permanantly in 2008 where he stayed for 2 years before moving to Manchester City.

His never say die attitude as something that Villa fans loved and when it was almost certain that he would be joining City, he still managed to put in a man of the match performance just days before his depature.

Many people would have chosen Gareth Barry to partner Milner but I am going to go with Idrissa Gueye. Gueye was arguably our best player the season we got relegated and his stats backed that up. He completed the second most interceptions and tackles in the Premiership that season, only behind the title winning N’Golo Kante.

STRIKERS

I have decided to cheat a little with my first striker as he never actually signed a professional contract with Villa although he was a big part of our academy player. Daniel Sturridge has had a pretty impressive career with spells at Chelsea, Liverpool and now West Bromwich. Injuries have obviously effected his career.

The other striker will be no real suprise to anyone, Christian Benteke. He is probably my favourite player that I’ve ever seen in a Villa shirt. Benteke has to have a place in this team for me. The striker bagged 19 Premier League goals in his debut season and was quickly being chased by big clubs such as Tottenham and Manchester United.

Sadly after 3 years at the club Benteke left for Liverpool in hope of playing Champions League football. Benteke guided us to an FA Cup final and single handedly kept us in the league on several occasions. He and Sturridge are definitely capable strikers in this team despite not scoring a lot of goals this season.

What’s your thoughts on this team? Have I missed anyone?

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