Conor Hourihane had a fantastic season last term, scoring a remarkable 11 goals in 44 games from central midfield, including Villa’s only hat-trick of the season in that home win against Norwich, highlighting his importance to the team and the impact he can have in games, so could he become a future captain of Aston Villa?
Having been captain at Barnsley before his move to Villa, Hourihane knows what it takes to be the skipper of a team and that is no doubt one of the reasons Villa were so keen to buy him in the first place. Steve Bruce loves leaders in his team all over the pitch, and stealing the captain of newly- promoted Barnsley certainly showed Villa’s intent.
Not only was Conor Hourihane a popular figure at Barnsley, leading their team from midfield, but he also captained them to success in the form of the League One Play Offs, so he must have done something right as captain there.
As well as this, Hourihane has just had a season under the leadership of John Terry, and if you can’t learn from him then you can’t learn from anyone. The Irishman will undoubtedly have picked up multiple traits of Terry’s that made him such a good leader, and being the type of character he is, will try to implement them into his game. For example, the protection of your fellow team mates. John Terry will never stand for his team mates being continuously fouled and will always try to help them maintain their composure, and Hourihane has already showed that he can be this type of man with his protection of Jack Grealish in the Play Off final. Grealish was victim to some rough treatment from Fulham and was at risk of losing his cool and even his place on the pitch after his lunging tackle on Tom Cairney, but when tempers flared, Hourihane was the first man there to protect his team mate and that really says a lot about his character, highlighting that it certainly does seem to be the type of character who could captain Aston Villa.
Rounding up the Conor Hourihane Argument
A final point arguing Conor Hourihane’s case is the fact that he doesn’t seem to be someone who is phased by the size of the club and doesn’t feel the weight of the shirt on his shoulders. Many players throughout the years have struggled playing for such a huge club, but stepping up and becoming the club’s highest scoring midfielder since David Platt in the 1990/91 season emphasises his confidence and really should increase his self-belief that he truly belongs at a club like Villa. International recognition is also not going to harm his confidence at all so there is no obvious reason (other than the fact that James Chester and Mile Jedinak are still at the club) that Conor Hourihane could not be the captain of Aston Villa very soon.
The one thing Hourihane may need to improve to become captain is his discipline, with the midfielder picking up 9 yellow cards last season, but besides that, Conor Hourihane thrives off the pressure of playing for Aston Villa, has proven he can be the man to step up when we need him and
ultimately is in with as good a shout as anyone to be a future captain of Aston Villa.
Words by Matt Blogg (@Blogg_Matt) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)