Yesterday, Barry Bannan was handed his debut for Scotland, in a match which saw the Tartan Army beat the Faroe Islands 3-0. Bannan hit the post in the first half before setting up Scotland's third goal, crossing the ball to the back post where Danny Wilson was waiting, heading it down for Jamie Mackie to tap in. Due to a headphones incident, I wasn't watching the first half of the match, but Dan tells me that Bannan almost knocked the ball in with his head, and quite frankly a headed goal from wee Barry is about the funniest thing ever. Also, the official site apparently tried to go with "sexy" or "brooding" in his photo shoot, which runs a close second.
Back to friendlies.
Nathan Delfouneso started for the England U-21s, who lost 2-0 to Germany. Marc Albrighton was rested as a precaution, one that Villa fans everywhere likely appreciate. This match also saw Arsenal midfielder Henri Lansbury in goal, which sounds amusing.
Ireland play Norway today today in Dublin, a match that could normally feature three Villa players. However, Richard Dunne and Ciaran Clark are both out with injuries, so they won't be in Ireland's squad, and I don't think John Carew convincing Norway to let him play and try for another goal this season would go over well with Gerard Houllier.
The USA is down in South Africa to take on the Bafana Bafana, with Brad Guzan set to start in goal. Brad 2.0 rarely gets a start, either at Villa or behind Tim Howard for the U.S., so he's likely excited. Eric Lichaj is also with the squad, of course, and should see some minutes, likely at the expense of poor Aaron's fragile heart.
England take on France without Gabriel Agbonlahor, who failed the national team medical exam. Again, probably good for Villa, who don't want to see their recently-recovered striker re-hurt himself in a friendly. Ashley Young will likely see a few minutes, at least, in this match, but Stephen Warnock will probably once again be warming the bench.
My hope for friendlies is simply that this fragile Villa squad come back to Birmingham undamaged, so it's fine with me if they stay on the bench. Bannan already escaped altercations with any sheep, so we're already doing well.