Alan Hutton has certainly endeared himself to the Villa faithful, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been a defensive liability for much of his career in claret and blue.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Aston Villa’s so-named “Scottish Cafu” Alan Hutton has placed himself somewhat as a cult figure at the club in recent years, after being ostracised in the early years of his Villa Park career and part of the “bomb squad” that saw the club relegated to the Sky Bet Championship.
He has shown passion, he’s had memorable moments like his goal against Hull on the opening day of the season, and wrote himself into Villa folklore after his Maradona-esque goal against Second City rivals Birmingham City earlier in the season.
But more often than not, Alan Hutton plays a part in our downfall.
The Scottish defender, whether deployed at right-back or left-back, is known for his piercing runs forward – some of which do pay off – but there are numerous times where Hutton runs into trouble, is dispossessed and the tides turn in favour of the opposition.
If it’s not in attack that he’s a liability, then certainly he is defensively. Don’t take this the wrong way – the Scotsman makes some vital interceptions and some crunching tackles, but he’s often at fault for offering the opposition far too much space on whichever side he’s operating on.
It’s no surprise that we struggle when our opposition targets our wing-backs (as shown in yesterday’s performance by Ahmed Elmohamady). Take a look at last season’s play-off final. Who could bear the brunt of the blame for Fulham’s goal? Alan Hutton.
He’s not solely to blame for every goal we concede of course, that lies at the feet of the entire team unless it’s a glaringly obvious mistake by a certain player – but Alan Hutton’s positional awareness leaves us under far more pressure than we need to be, as he’s more often than not drifting into a more central position before moving back to where he should be to stop an already underway attack.
Take a look at the Leeds game at Villa Park, in which Bielsa’s side heavily targeted Hutton, especially in the second half, as it was obvious that Ezgjan Alioski had the upper hand against Villa’s makeshift left-back both physically and quality wise. This also minimised the risk that Aston Villa could pose against rookie fullback Leif Davis.
Most Aston Villa fans will look back fondly and remember Hutton as a player who went from outcast, to ostracised, to cult figure. But that doesn’t mean that he isn’t and hasn’t been a liability for much of his career in claret and blue.
It’ll be surprising if this isn’t the 34-year-old’s last season at Aston Villa, and if Dean Smith doesn’t already have a name in mind to solidify the position in January or next summer.
2 thoughts on “Alan Hutton is a Cult Figure and a Liability”
its interesting that you should call Hutton a liability ,its also true that he from a defensive point of view has been found wanting ,he never really fitted in when he first came to the club and he looked very shaky at best on a good day .but in all honesty this man deserves any praise that comes his way ,he has had to battle his way through all the difficulties he and the club have had and he has shown real desire and respect for aston villa. there is no player in our modern day history to show this attitude more than him and he has my respect for that .hes not the best right back in the league and i believe he know this and in my opinion plays much better when adohma is in front of him because the two of them cover the right side or left side of the pitch really well together,that ballance has been disrupted due to adohmas injury ,its also been disrupted due to bolasie who doesnt do what adohma does in front of hutton by covering him when on the defensive ,this can also be said of kodjia in regards to him and elmo on the oposte side of the pitch . for the leeds winner not one of our midfielders tracked roofe into the box ,elmos decision to back head the ball straight to his feet was shocking when you consider his amount of experience .so no one player was to blame but you can blame the collective .We all know that hutton has the rest of this season left on his contract ,i for one will be sorry to see him leave the club at the end of the season ,his attitude ,application ,desire ,and sheer will is a lesson to any pro at our club on how to survive the pit falls of being a pro at one of the clubs with the most demanding set of fans in this country .if players like gabby ,richards ,and lescot who consider themselves fans of our club had his attitude they would have left our club heros instead they walk away as a sheer liabilty and a drain on our resources .
the Scottish cafu will go down in villas history as a real villa legend along with .mcgrath ,cowans ,larson ,melberg ,evens, and all the greats of our great club ,maybe not for his class but for sheer guts and determination .