With all the excitement around Paul Lambert's new-look Aston Villa side, it's sometimes embarrassingly easy to forget a player we fans once loved so much: Marc Albrighton. The elf has been out for three months, nursing a stress fracture in his foot. But he's back in training as of Sunday and, fingers crossed, this will be a one-off. It takes enough energy to worry about Gabby.
But with Albrighton back to health, how does he fit into Lambert's Limes? On one hand, as we've mentioned time and again, he wasn't looking that great during the second half of last season. Now, that could be down to the McLeish effect, but it could also be due to the fact that his potential simply wasn't what we had hoped.
On the other hand, we've also discussed the side's lack of true wingers. It seems to be a problem that Lambert is coping with easily -- after all, you don't need true wingers to put out a functioning or fun side. Barry Bannan is playing better on the left than the centre, Brett Holman is a workhorse on the right, and we're not seeing Charles N'Zogbia start. But having Albrighton could, at the very least, give the squad options. Let him speed down the right flank and fire a few crosses in against a side that might be steady but slow.
It's not what most of us wanted from our elf, a position on the bench. It's almost certain that's not what Albrighton wants for himself. But right now, he has to overcome both injury and the solid performance of players that fit well into the system Lambert's creating. The gaffer has said that he wants players that are hungry, that are determined to prove themselves. That's always how Marc has seemed. Now it's time to prove it.