As of today Aston Villa have recalled five players from loans ranging the English footballing leagues and the Eredivisie.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
A number of players have been recalled from what looked to be season long loans since the option has been available to Dean Smith during the January transfer window.
Initially, under the tenure of former manager Steve Bruce, it was seen fit that the likes of Tommy Elphick, Jed Steer, Andre Green, Jordan Lyden and Easah Suliman were sent out on loan to clubs ranging from the Sky Bet Championship to the Eredivisie.
Whilst the Easah Suliman was not much of a shock due to his inexperience in senior football, the loans of Tommy Elphick and Jed Steer were more of a shock to the system for Aston Villa fans, especially as Elphick’s exit left the Villans precariously short of defenders.
Andre Green’s loan was another odd call by Steve Bruce – who called upon the youngster a number of times in pre-season, even playing him as an out-and-out striker in a friendly against German side Dynamo Dresden – where Green scored twice in a three-minute burst.
Tommy Elphick‘s return to Aston Villa was an inevitability, and if you were to ask any fan in the games between summer and Christmas whether they’d expect the centre-back back at the club in January, the answer would have been a resounding yes.
Elphick’s departure left the club with an obvious lack of depth in defence, and whilst Aston Villa were able to actually play defenders in their favoured positions in a number of games, injuries to the likes of Axel Tuanzebe (who is still injured) and Neil Taylor have proved troublesome.
Hull City fans were waxing lyrical about Elphick and his time up north, and were understandably gutted when he was recalled. Realistically, there are only two reasons why Elphick was recalled – the lack of defensive depth at centre-back, and the fact that he is out of contract at the end of the season and Dean Smith will be likely to want to see if Tommy is worthwhile offering an extension to 31-years-old.
Jed Steer is an odd recall. Jed was sent out to League One’s Charlton Athletic at the start of the season and enjoyed a rocky time at The Valley.
After spending the majority of his time at the club injured, it was right to send him out on loan and attempt to get a full season under his belt – but after six months his loan was cut short to supplement the loss of Orjan Nyland in the Villa net.
Nyland is out for the rest of the season, and with Dean Smith not favouring Mark Bunn, Steer was recalled to play in the first game of 2019, in which current number one Lovre Kalinic was unable to play in.
It’s unlikely we’ll see Jed Steer in the Aston Villa net again this season, and with his contract expiring at the end of the season – he’ll be working hard to impress Dean Smith to try and earn an extension.
Easah Suliman is another young player who is out of contract at the end of the season – but with the England youth international struggling in his loan last season to Grimsby last season and not getting much further in his loan to FC Emmen this season, it’s likely Dean Smith will have recalled him to get a closer look at the first Asian player to captain the England youth sides.
He’s likely to be rated ahead of Dominic Revan due to his age and experience, but with the arrival of Wolves’ Kortney Hause – we might not get to see much of Suliman before the club decide to renew or cancel his contract.
It’s also likely that the youngster was struggling to adapt to life in the Netherlands, and after 12 appearances wanted to try and stake his claim for a part in the future of Aston Villa.
Jordan Lyden was recalled for a similar reason. He is out of contract at the end of the season, but at 22-years-old is further along in where he should be for Aston Villa than the likes of Easah Suliman.
Lyden was enjoying senior football for Oldham Athletic, and had become somewhat of a favourite at the Latics, before he was recalled so Dean Smith could get a ‘proper look at him’ before his contract was up.
Unfortunately, Lyden suffered a freak injury in training – meaning that he’s unlikely to play or train this season and there’s a slim chance that he’ll still be here come next season.
Lyden looked to be a promising youngster when he performed under Remi Garde, but spending more time recovering than training has stunted the Australian.
Andre Green is the most recent arrival back at Bodymoor Heath this window, having been recalled from his loan at Portsmouth this morning.
The youngster spent the early part of his loan at Kenny Jackett’s League One high-flyers injured after deciding to have surgery on a knee cyst – meaning he was recovering for some time before appearing for the southern side.
Making just 8 appearances across all competitions there, Green still managed to score three goals and become somewhat of a cup hero for Pompey with a last-ditch winner against Norwich.
We could potentially be seeing the departure of Albert Adomah – the only current out-and-out senior winger owned by the club – or the return of one of the loanees in Yannick Bolasie or Anwar El Ghazi, however according to Kenny Jackett – he’s returned to meet homegrown standards set by the club.
Talking to Pompey Live, Jackett said:
“It was more to do with the home-grown player rule they have internally and having enough players in their squad that fulfils that criteria.
They will be bringing him back and having a look at him and working him towards playing for his parent club.”