There’s a weird affliction that some Villa supporters suffer from time to time. After spending months, even seasons, obsessively criticising a decidingly average Villa player, a few weeks after the club finally sell the player, the same fan can sometimes be seen/heard saying how we could do with them back in the team.
Call it blind sentimentality mixed with a goldfish memory.
There’s several recent examples, including, Andi Weimann, Ciaran Clark, Brad Guzan, Barry Bannan, and judging by Twitter in recent weeks, most currently Leandro Bacuna and Aaron Tshibola.
Lets not even go there with Bacuna…
So what about Mr Tshibola? Does the 22-year-old still have a future with Villa?
The £5m buy from Reading last season is currently on loan with League One outfit MK Dons, and this week a damning progress report appeared on the player in the local Milton Keynes paper, the MK Citizen.
It seems to be wishful thinking on the part of some fans, that the narrative of young players going on loan is that they come back better players and ready to kick-on.
At the moment, it doesn’t seem to apply to the ex-Reading midfielder.
Tshibola was meant to give the Villa midfield spark and dynamism, the like of which that current loanee Josh Onomah has started to demonstrate.
At the time of signing, MOMS questioned Villa paying over the odds for a player, that Steve Clark recommended to Robert Di Matteo, who had very little first team experience at Championship level and possessed a worrying injury record.
At Villa, despite the odd flash of ability, a mix of niggling injuries and questionable temperament, soon contributed to him being on the sidelines of a team that was crying out for fresh midfield influence.
Once Steve Bruce took over from Di Matteo, it quickly became clear he didn’t fancy Tshibola in his midfield.
While Tshibola seems to have stayed clear of injuries at MK Dons this season, he’s hardly impressed going on the MK Citizen report on him.
It was unlikely he was going to compare well with their previous midfield darling, Dele Alli, but still, he’s not been too impressive.
‘In the victory over AFC Wimbledon on Friday, a performance where the team shone as a whole, he was probably the least memorable on the field,” stated the MK Citizen. ‘Against Northampton five days later, he was a passenger, and what little he did, he did badly’.
‘He has failed to deliver anything near the sort of performances his perceived value would suggest,’ added the paper.
Of course, ‘perceived value’ is the initial Villa overspend, which automatically lumps pressure on the player and categorises him.
Most damning though is when the newspaper went into detail about his performances.
‘Casually giving the ball away, he never showed a desire and drive to get the ball back – perhaps just his demeanour masking his passion. His defensive duties were few and far between, while he contributed little going forward either.’
The writer concludes the midfielder has had one ‘decent appearance’ out of 11 so far this season.
MK Dons manager Robbie Neilson did offer support to Tshibola, speaking post-match in mid-week.
Yet, after calling him a “very good player”, he went on to admit, all was not rosy.
“He hasn’t been one of the top performers but he has been a big part of the team,” concluded Neilson. “We have to try and help people and get them through periods when they aren’t playing well, but that’s part and parcel of being a footballer.”
If Tshibola is currently struggling in League One, then the reality is there’s a very long way to go for him to play in a claret and blue shirt again. That is, unless it’s Scunthorpe’s.
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