Aston Villa announced this morning that Jed Steer will be re-joining Huddersfield Town on loan, keeping him with the Championship side until Boxing Day.
On the surface, this looks like a smart move on Villa's part. Having already spend two months on loan at Huddersfield this season, Steer is already familiar with the club and can hit the ground running. In addition, Huddersfield's first choice keeper Joe Murphy picked up an injury on the weekend, so Jed will likely get some game time this month.
Then I realised that Jed Steer was registered as part of Aston Villa's 25 man squad for this season.
Look, Brad Guzan is a good keeper. But 2015 hasn't been a good year for Brad. Under Tim Sherwood, Guzan looked shaky and was dropped for the tail end of last season. Aside from Mark Bunn, no real replacement was signed after the move for Asmir Begovic broke down, so Brad remained number one.
This season, his form appeared to be on the up again, until he seemed to lose his confidence and his performances dropped as a result. Now, his abject distribution can be forgiven if Villa are winning, but Villa aren't winning. Guzan was directly responsible for conceding goals against Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Chelsea and Everton. Granted, there are other variables at play, but that's 12 points dropped. If even just two of those mistakes hadn't happened, Villa would be in 17th place, out of the relegation zone.
Which brings me back to Jed Steer. Though he has only featured once in the League for Villa (last seasons 1-0 loss to Burnley) he has impressed every time he has gone out on loan. In fact, during his ten game stint at Huddersfield earlier this season, he kept two clean sheets, as the team picked up more than twice as many points as Villa did in the division above. Two clean sheets may not sound impressive, but that's just as many as Brad Guzan has in more games this season.
So what am I saying? Should Jed Steer be starting games for Villa instead of going out on loan? Yes. Brad Guzan's confidence has gone, and whilst dropping him would do him no favours, if the rumours are true and Villa are after a new keeper in January, then Guzan's days are numbered anyways so there is no consequence to dropping him. What about Mark Bunn? In his displays for Villa in the Capital One Cup, particularly against Notts County, Bunn proved that he shouldn't be a first choice keeper in his erratic displays. I think that he is a good reserve to have around, a training sparring partner for the first choice keeper so to speak.
It would obviously be a risk to play a 23 year old with only one games' Premier League experience, especially with the team firmly in the relegation dogfight. But when your established first choice keeper isn't performing up to standards, why not throw the dice? In any case, it's too late now, this becomes an 'if only', not a 'what if'. Which is a shame. Good luck at Huddersfield Jed.