In the wake of Aston Villa’s relegation to the English second tier, there’s no doubt that there will be plenty of comings and goings in the summer transfer window.
Whilst things are looking glum in B6 right now – the English Premier League betting at William Hill has Villa at 4/1 to beat Newcastle United this Saturday in spite of their home advantage – the club must take stock at the end of the season and look towards the forgotten faces that could help catapult them back into the English top flight.
One of those said faces is left back Joe Bennett, signed by the club in 2012 in then new manager Paul Lambert’s first transfer window.
Hailing from Middlesbrough – a club he joined when he was a boy, Bennett came to the club with huge promise but arguably became overwhelmed in his first season in a Villa side where boss Lambert tried to blood too many youngsters too soon.
Villa’s inexperienced side nearly suffered the drop in Lambert’s first season, only saved by the late-season goal scoring exploits of Christian Benteke.
And in a bid to bring in more experience the following campaign, Bennett made way for the likes of Spanish fullback Antonio Luna and ex-Liverpool defender Aly Cissokho who in truth, didn’t fare much better.
With first team chances few and far between, he was cast out on loan where a bout of bad luck in the injury department prevented him from furthering his footballing development and forcing his way back into a struggling Villa side.
But with new management and new ownership (hopefully), comes new opportunity. 26-year-old Bennett was signed by the club four years ago because of his proficiency in a league that unfortunately next season the club will be competing in.
And with no guarantees about the whereabouts of Jordan Amavi either (his stand-out performances in the games prior to his horrific injury on international duty may persuade a Premier League club or two to take a punt on him), Villa could do much worse than give another opportunity to a player whose career may have taken a different path if it hadn’t been for such cruel extenuating circumstances, not to mention the shambolic way the club has been run for the past five years.