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Aston Villa 2016-17 player preview: Ashley Westwood

Julian Finney/Getty Images

At 26, the time has come for Ashley Westwood to stand up as one of Aston Villa's most experienced players.

Having had five managers in four years, Aston Villa have had more than their fair share of squad overhauls. One player who has survived four managerial regimes is Ashley Westwood, who is now the third most experienced player in the side (after Gabby and Alan Hutton). His calm head will be crucial for Villa in midfield this campaign, especially if he plays alongside younger, less experienced players such as Gardner and Tshibola.

In a season in which every aspect of Aston Villa sucked, Ashley Westwood received some seriously unfair criticism. His defensive game is stronger than his offensive, and he was often maligned for his sideways passing in a season in which Aston Villa scored just 27 goals. In spite of this, Westwood refused to shy away, and scored both of his goals last season in a 4-2 defeat to Southampton, showing desire as those around him faded away.

Now a Premier League veteran, Ashley Westwood should excel in this division. He's not a star, but his presence is certainly felt.