Ryan Bertrand has joined Aston Vill on loan this January and following his great performance against Liverpool last weekend, it appears as though Aston Villa have finally solved their left-back issues. The last time Aston Villa had a quality left-back was Stephen Warnock, he arrived from Blackburn and he performed well in 2009 and 2010. His performances dipped those following years and under Lambert he was sold to Leeds United.
Warnock was replaced by Joe Bennett and he showed improvement towards the end of the season. But overall he struggled in his first season in the Premier League, often conceding fouls and opposition wingers found it easy to get past the young player. Antonio Luna was brought in from Sevilla in 2013, Luna was brought in for additional competition for Bennett. Luna impressed quickly, scoring against Arsenal and had a few good performances but generally teams found Luna as the weak-link in Villa’s defence.
The same cannot be said about Bertrand. Unlike Bennett and Luna, Bertrand has Champions League and Premier League experience. He knows how to defend, has trained under some top coaches and most importantly he is solid in the back. With Bertrand, teams will rarely identify the left-back as a ‘weak-link’ in our defence. In-fact with Vlaar, Clark and Bertrand, Lambert may have created one of Villa’s best defences in a long while. Our defence has experience, youth and pace.
Bertrand will probably fall under the list of loan players who have impressed, Kyle Walker and Robbie Keane are the two latest who made an impression at Villa. But unlike the others, there is a good chance that Bertrand will join Villa permanently. Chelsea have a lot of young players in their disposal and most interestingly are after Southampton’s Luke Shaw. With Ashley Cole and Azpilicueta ahead of Bertrand, Lambert has a great opportunity to sign Bertrand permanently in the summer.
I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself though, he has only played one game. I’m just happy that Lambert has identified a weakness in our squad and has gone out and did something about it.