Barry Bannan has just signed a new contract with Aston Villa, keeping him in claret and blue until 2014. The young midfielder has been with the club since the age of 14 but "size issues" kept him out of first team football under Martin O'Neill. As we've seen this season, Gerard Houllier has no such issues with wee Bannan, handing him starts in the last three Premier League matches and complimenting his intelligence, skill, and desire. Villa have backed up the manager's belief in Bannan with a shiny new offer. The twenty year old is already impressing with his pin-point passing, but Villa fans have an eye toward what he seems to be developing into: the team's playmaker, the likes of which has certainly been missing this season.
Just last night, as I tried to fall asleep, I started wondering if Bannan had signed a new contract and I'd missed it. Here's the list of the young Villans who've put pen to paper this season:
Gabriel Agbonlahor (through 2015)
Eric Lichaj (through 2013, I believe)
Marc Albrighton (through summer of 2014) (clearly these two are not going anywhere without the other)
Ciaran Clark (through summer of 2014)
And people wonder why we're excited about this team.