Former Norwich City players out of favour at Aston Villa

Remember the Henri Lansbury goal celebration after scoring at Leeds? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Remember the Henri Lansbury goal celebration after scoring at Leeds? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Focus Images 2011

CHRIS LAKEY looks at a quartet of ex-Canaries who have fallen from favour at Aston Villa

Goalkeeper Jed Steer Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdGoalkeeper Jed Steer Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The departure of Steve Bruce means Norwich City will have few direct connections with Aston Villa tonight – despite the Villans having four former Canaries on their books.

Bruce – a formidable member of Norwich City’s team in the 1980s – was sacked at the beginning of the month, leaving behind a hugely expensive but under-performing squad.

The squad includes goalkeepers Mark Bunn and Jed Steer, defender Ritchie De Laet and midfielder Henri Lansbury.

Steer is on loan at Charlton, Bunn has had one start – a bit of a nightmare against Preston – and is likely to get no further than the bench while De Laet is tasting the delights of Australian football, on loan to Melbourne City.

The interesting one is Lansbury, a player who started 15 Championship games under Paul Lambert on the way to promotion in 2011.

He’s a player a few City fans mentioned in despatches for a possible return: a combative midfielder with skill, a good shot and a good engine.

Villa paid Nottingham Forest £2.75m for his services in January 2017, but he started only six games last season, and hasn’t featured for a single second in the current campaign.

Lansbury should, therefore, be among those who will benefit from Bruce’s departure, but the replacement manager, Dean Smith, will have questions to ask: just why was Lansbury so far out of favour?

Ritchie De Laet during his Norwich days Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdRitchie De Laet during his Norwich days Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

And with just a Carabao Cup appearance at Burton in August to his name, when will he be considered match fit? It may not be any time soon, so Smith will have already started to mould his own team from the resources available, and might then be considering off-loading Lansbury in January, should he decide the 28-year-old is surplus to requirements. Smith is no doubt fully acquainted with the running costs at Villa – which in the recent past have included the likes of John terry, Robert Snodgrass and Ross McCormack.

Lansbury will, no doubt, be taking away a sizeable chunk; perhaps the best thing for him is to bite the bullet, take a hit on his wallet and go to a club where he is wanted – and there’s the biggest trick of all.

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