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Aston Villa 2017-18 player preview: Conor Hourihane

The pressure is on the Irish midfielder to improve performances at Villa.

Brentford v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

There may not be a more important player to Aston Villa’s early season than Conor Hourihane. With Jack Grealish sidelined for a few months someone is going to have to play that number 10 role that Bruce says the team was built around. The clearest choice is 26-year-old Hourihane. It must also be noted that given the opportunity Bruce subbed in Bacuna for an injured Grealish and pushed Lansbury up — but I’m not convinced that is the long-term plan.

Hourihane joined Villa in January and was promptly not good enough. He didn’t match his Tykes output.

Curious Case of Conor Hourihane

Games Goals Assists
Games Goals Assists
25 6 11
13(4) 1 3
Barnsley vs Aston Villa Whoscored

The Irish midfielder has the talent. He has shown it in the past. He needs to show up and help make the attack machinery work for Aston Villa. If he takes hold of whatever role Bruce gives him — he could be an every game starter this season and that would be good for the whole of Aston Villa.