Talking Preseason

After appearing on The Villa View earlier today, the ever growing and increasingly popular YouTube channel made especially with the fans in mind, you'll now be able to put a face to the posts you read!

Episode five of The Villa View's Discussion Show featured hosts Matt Lynch and Dan Bardell as well as Mat Kendrick from the Birmingham Mail. On the show we discussed the players' return to preseason training, former captain Stiliyan Petrov's comeback, the new 16/17 kit which is being unveiled tomorrow and latest transfer rumours.

Seeing as I'm better at writing rather than speaking, I thought I'd touch on a few points brought up on the show. However, if you'd prefer to have a watch you can see the video below:

Player's Return to Preseason:
Preseason is important for any player or manager, whether you are in the Premier League, or in Villa's case the Championship. It is even more important however for Aston Villa this year as it is a chance for Roberto Di Matteo to assess the current group of players that arrived at Bodymoor Heath yesterday. Yet, as Dan Bardell pointed out on the Discussion Show, it is those who were perhaps absent from training that are the talk of the town.
Most notably non existent from pictures featured on the official site were the prime suspects: Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards and Gabby Agbonlahor. Of course, no Villa fan is prepared to see Lescott rolling into training with his new Mercedes in tow just yet. However, it could be a suggestion of Di Matteo's supposed phone calls to the players he is allowing to leave the club.
It is vital that preseason is used to it's full capabilities. It is the time where players can be brought back up to speed with the pace and physicality of the league, their performances can be judged and the new manager can sift through the players that he wants to keep and also bring in the ones that he requires. But the most important thing is for the players lacking the abilities needed to get Villa back to their rightful place in the Premier League once again have to leave.
For Di Matteo it must be a case of the sooner the better.
Stiliyan Petrov's Comeback:
Stiliyan Petrov and young Villan Callum Robinson returned
to training on Wednesday (@avfcofficial)
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a little smile on their face every time they read this.
Four years ago, Villa's former captain was diagnosed with leukaemia after feeling unwell in the game against Arsenal at the Emirates. Four years later, Stiliyan Petrov returned to first team training with Aston Villa, and what a sight it was.
What can he offer to Villa? Well, first and foremost the Bulgarian will be an inspiration to the club as a whole. For the man to go through years of hell and still come out on the other side smiling, it is the most heart warming thing to see. That in itself should act as a message for both fans and players a like. If Petrov can do it, so can Villa.
Of course comparing such a cruel disease with Aston Villa's situation is miniscule in the grand scheme of things. Yet, the players should follow in their ex-captain's footsteps and encapsulate that pride, passion, love and undying endeavour for playing football.
Stiliyan Petrov will no doubt be incredibly important off the pitch. Whether he can replicate that on the pitch is a completely different question. Unfortunately I don't feel we'll see the same Petrov as the one who had to leave under Alex McLeish and it would not be fair to put pressure on him becoming that same player again. If he was to be, that would be a bonus.
Ever since the midfielder left the club, Villa have lacked a leader. At first I couldn't put my finger on what the problem was at Villa, especially in the year following his departure. But, for me, not one captain has come close to Stiliyan Petrov. For some reason he has an effect on the players around him. He exuberates belief, desire and appears to have utter pride in pulling on the claret and blue shirt.  

Realistic Signings and Transfer Rumours:

Ross McCormack celebrating one of his goals for Leeds United
(West Ham World)
In recent weeks, Ross McCormack has been heavily linked with a move to Aston Villa. The striker, who will be turning 30 in August, scored 21 goals and contributed nine assists in a Fulham team who were almost relegated. To me that sounds pretty decent. Yes, age would be a factor that needs to be considered, but he is proven in the Championship.

However, like I mentioned on The Villa View, we should be looking for players with both Championship and Premier League experience, so they can continue that form following promotion (if that was the case). With this in mind, Villa could look elsewhere.

In my last blog post I discussed my Championship Wish List - which you can read here: My Championship Wish List - which included bringing in Lewis Cook, who I spoke about on the show. For those of you asking who the hell is he, you can read all about the 19-year-old here.

Villa's Upcoming Season:

I hope it's not just me that's excited! With a new owner, new manager and hopefully a new set of players, I'm hoping that we can get up at the first time of asking. There is no doubt that it will be incredibly tough, and we should not underestimate how hard the Championship will be, however it looks set to be thrilling campaign. Not only will there be a new set of opponents but there is a sense of the unknown, which is both exciting and slightly scary.

The only thing I hope to see is more than three wins and 16 points on the board.

Molly Jennens

I'm Molly Jennens and I am an aspiring football journalist. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it.

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