Barry Bannan is rapidly becoming everyone's favourite diminutive Scotsman with a healthy mix of composure on the ball, passing range and intelligence, and pint-sized adorableness. But Bannan, 20, who made his international debut for Scotland two days ago, hasn't always had his fans at Villa Park:
"Martin had size issues with me and he kept bringing them up in conversation over the many meetings we had when he was at Villa."
I love the mental image of Bannan tromping into Martin O'Neill's office, being stood up against a wall, and having his height marked with a pencil every time they spoke. It's just delightfully cute.
"I'd been at the club since I was 14. My parents had left Lanarkshire[*] and moved to the Midlands to look after me while I tried to become a success. But Martin left me disheartened when what I really needed was his trust.
"The only thing that kept me going during that period of rejection was..."
So, 7500ers, my challenge to you is to work out what kept little Barry going in those dark times. Some suggestions:
- "Banging tonnes of hotties."
- "My years of meditation training in the Himilayas, which facilitate calmness of mind and purity of thought."
- "Repeated use of certain pumps."
- "I'M BARRY BANNAN, BIZNITS."
*Lanarkshire? That's a real place? It sounds like the kingdom of the dwarves from a crappy fantasy novel. I bet it's in a mountain right next to the Forest of Albrighton, where the wood-elves dwell in harmony with their centaur friends.