Villa midfielder called up to make international debut

Paul Gilham

Chris Herd, who has been injured since December, has been called up by Australia.

You may or may not remember Chris Herd. The 24-year-old midfielder has only played twice for Villa this season, an has been reported as being injured since late December, so we would be absolutely willing to forgive you if the name isn't ringing any bells right now. But there is one group that haven't forgotten Herd, and that group is Australia.

Despite having both been injured and playing barely at all since last season, Herd has earned his first call-up to the Socceroos. Herd is one of four players who will be making their international debut, though who knows if he will actually play. The match seems to be being treated by new Australia manager Ange Postecoglou as an audition for a younger generation of Australian footballers.

The truly amusing part of all of this, though, is that Postecoglou is marking this change as "the first steps in what I believe is the building of the next Golden Generation for Australian football.'' He also dropped Socceroo captain Lucas Neill based on the fact that he wants players who are playing consistently and well. That leaves Herd as the obvious choice, of course. It's even more perplexing when you consider that Herd was chosen over former last year's Australian player of the year (and former Villan) Brett Holman, who has indeed been garnering regular playing time in the UAE.

It's an interesting tactic that Postecoglou is taking. In some ways, the choices make sense, as he is looking to build a sustainable squad that will perform well beyond this year's World Cup. They might as well focus on the future, as Australia are drawn in a group with Spain, the Netherlands, and Chile. But to make so much upheaval so soon before the world's biggest competition is strange. Granted, this isn't the roster that Postecoglou has chosen for the World Cup, but its a pretty good indication of what we could expect.

Nevertheless, it's a fantastic opportunity for Herd, who has been a very solid player for Aston Villa at times. The match is being played in Millwall, so travel shouldn't be too tough, and I certainly hope that Herd is well enough to stake a claim to a spot in the squad this summer.

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