Once upon a time, Marc Albrighton was Aston Villa's next big thing. Albrighton made his presence felt in a very big way in his first full season with the senior squad, flourishing under Gerard Houllier and seemingly working his way to the verge of a breakthrough into the England squad at 21 just years of age. And then Houllier left and Alex McLeish arrived, and for whatever reason -the official editorial stance of this site is that Big Eck ruined him just as he did so many other things- the magic seemed to fade.
Albrighton struggled to find minutes during Paul Lambert's first season in charge before a a broken foot ended his season prematurely, and a thigh injury kept him from fully participating early on this season. With his contract ending in the summer, the kind of season Albrighton has will likely determine the next several years of his career. And unfortunately for Marc, things aren't looking especially positive on the front now that his availability for a loan spell away has been called into question after undergoing throat surgery.
This is the latest chapter in a book of misfortune for Albrighton, who looks a shadow of the player he once was. It's rare that a footballer so exciting, so likable, and so transparently thrilled to be playing for his boyhood club comes along, and so when things don't work out as it first seemed they would it's a pretty miserable kind of thing all around. There's very little that isn't wonderful about Marc Albrighton, and almost every Villa fan would love to see him go on to a great, long career in claret and blue. But at this point, it seems as though the entire universe has conspired to ensure that doesn't happen.
Get well soon, Marc. We're all pulling for you.