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Aston Villa 2016-17 player preview: Joe Bennett

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Can the left back finally make an impact a year after he would have been wildly useful?

Aston Villa v Parma - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

On 15 November, Jordan Amavi tore the ACL in his right knee while playing for France. It meant that Aston Villa’s first-choice left-back would be out for the season. It was at that moment, perhaps more than any other, at which Joe Bennett was at precisely his most desirable. He and Aly Cissokho were both out on loan, and the left-back of choice was to be Kieran Richardson. It makes me wince just typing that.

But that’s another topic. Instead, we consider Joe Bennett, the perennially disappointing player who has oodles of potential and not much in the way of results. He was on loan at Bournemouth at the time. A place where he never appeared. Then he came back, Villa didn’t add a good left back, and we sent him out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday.

In a season where Joe Bennett could have actually had a chance to play regularly for Aston Villa, he was on loan at clubs that didn’t really need him. No wonder this team was relegated.

But in 2016-17, Bennett looks to have made the squad and is likely the second or third choice behind a healthy Amavi. Over the course of a grueling season, he’ll get his chances, and if he can perform, he has a real opportunity to net something close to regular playing time.