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England Hopefuls: Aston Villa

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Another mediocre season for Aston Villa, will it help the chances of their England hopefuls?

"if you're in the England squad, clap your hands". Photo Credit
"if you're in the England squad, clap your hands". Photo Credit
Tony Marshall

Another season, another 15th place finish. While this season is not one for the record books for Aston Villa, they do have several young players in their ranks such as Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph, and Nathan Baker (its quite an achievement for Paul Lambert in managing the team survives relegation with such a young squad), which if they can stay healthy and perform up to their potential may propel them to a higher finish next season.

Now, let's see which of Aston Villa's young Englishmen can make England's squad.

Ashley Westwood, midfielder, 24

Westwood is second in number of appearances for Villa this season with 35 (behind Brad Guzan who played 38 times) a testament to his consistency and health. Deployed mostly as a defensive midfielder, Westwood scored three goals and registered two assists. His strength is hitting the long ball, as he averages nearly five accurate long balls per game, while also finding the target with 83% of his passes.

On the plane or on the beach? Its hard to see which other midfielders in England's current set-up that Westwood can dispossessed. As it stands, it's unlikely he'll get a call from Roy Hodgson.

Fabian Delph, midfielder, 24

Delph's high point of the season came back in March as he helped Aston Villa to a 1-0 win over Chelsea with a fantastic flick (via Josh Edwards). For the season, he made 34 appearances while scoring three goals and providing two assists. If he can improve in holding on to the ball as well as increasing his offensive contribution and sustaining it throughout the season, its very likely he'd get a call-up sooner rather than later.

On the plane or on the beach? At the moment, the beach. But as has been mentioned before, Delph could contend for an England spot sooner rather than later if he can stay fit and consistent.

Nathan Baker, defender, 23

Baker played 30 times in the league for Aston Villa this season without scoring a goal or providing an assist. His most obvious strength is on aerial duels where he won (on average) three of them per game and also in clearing danger out of defense with seven clearances per game. However, one are where he can improve is in his passing as he only manages a 68.7% pass success rate.

On the plane or on the beach? The beach, but could contend in the future as long as he can stay healthy and improve his game.

Gabriel Agbonlahor, attacker, 27

Gabby is able to play all across the front line, as he has displayed this season being deployed as a left winger, right winger, and even centre forward. From 30 appearances this season he managed to score four goals and provide five assists. A somewhat disappointing return from someone that has immense promise as a youngster.

On the plane or the beach? He did not scored enough goals or provide loads of assists to be considered as an offensive threat, coupled with his average passing ability, it seems Gabby will have to wait to add to his three England caps.

Matthew Lowton, defender, 24

The defender played 23 times for Villa this season, mostly as a right back. He didn't score a goal but did come up with three assists. The most glaring concern is that defender gets by him easily (he was dribbled 1.3 times on average for the season), which is why Leandro Bacuna was preferred to him.

On the plane or the beach? While England's right back situation isn't as settled as the other spot in defense, its unlikely that Lowton will be considered for a spot.

Marc Albrighton, midfielder, 24

Albrighton had to miss some part of the season early on because of a throat operation. He also spend a month with Wigan in the Championship on loan making four appearances. In 19 appearances with Villa, he provided four assists. Providing key passes seems to be Albrighton's calling card as he has 34 of them this season (putting him tied at third among other Villa players).

On the plane or on the beach? Hasn't done enough to put his name into consideration. Will be looking to play more regularly next season.

Joe Bennet, defender, 24

Bennet only made five appearances in the league this season, as he was hit by several injuries in the first half of the season. In five appearances, his defensive or offensive contribution is very minimal.

On the plane or on the beach? England has plenty of left backs to consider before handing Bennet a call-up. He'll be eager to make up for the lost time next season.

Grant Holt, attacker, 33 (on loan from Wigan Athletic)

Holt arrived at Villa Park last January after half a season at the Championship. He made 10 appearances for Villa but only managed to score one goal.

On the plane or on the beach? At 33, it seems that the door to England's squad has been closed for Holt, especially after his latest Premier League spell.

Jordan Bowery, attacker, 22

Bowery only played nine times for Villa in the league, mostly as a cameo off the bench. He didn't score a goal, but did score an own goal against Hull last week, a match in which he also provide an assist.

On the plane or on the beach? The beach, perhaps another loan spell is on the radar for him.

Callum Robinson, attacker, 19

The England U19 striker only made four Premier League appearances off the bench for a grand total of 46 minutes. A season out on loan may do him a world of good for his development. He scored 11 goals in 17 appearances in the U21 Premier League (via transfermarkt.co.uk)

On the plane or on the beach? The beach, but do keep an eye out for him.

All stats courtesy of whoscored.com unless noted.