Had Aston Villa fans been told shortly after the 5-5 draw with Nottingham Forest in November 2018 that Orjan Nyland would one day produce a man of the match display to inspire the Villans to a cup final, you could certainly understand why they may not have believed you.
Nyland has endured a turbulent time since moving to Villa Park in 2018.
He did not make an appearance beyond December during his first season with the club. And he has largely had a peripheral role this term.
He has however, been involved in the last two rounds of the Carabao Cup.
The 29-year-old kept a clean sheet against Liverpool in the quarter-final, and featured in both legs of the semi-final with Leicester City.
And it was his performance in the second-leg that has prompted a number of Villa supporters to take to social media to laud the Norwegian.
Nyland produced a number of unbelievable saves to keep the Foxes at bay. And that helped Smith’s men go on and win 2-1 to book their place at Wembley.
In truth, there were a number of man of the match contenders. But Nyland seems to have got the nod from plenty of fans.
His performance has left a number of supporters in disbelief. They cannot believe the turnaround that he has enjoyed, and several have insisted that he deserves to start the cup final ahead of Pepe Reina.
Here is how some of the fans reacted to Nyland’s performance…
— Andrew Campbell (@andwcampbell) January 29, 2020
One of our best performances under Dean Smith, the effort, the desire, the passion our players gave today. Incredible!
Nyland world class performance! #avfc
— imran Ⓜ (@M7RNI) January 29, 2020
Can’t help but think how far Nyland has come since he conceded 5 goals from 5 shots against Forest last season. Hard work does that. Fair play to the man, I absolutely love him.❤️ #AVFC
— Emmett???? (@EmmettAVFC) January 29, 2020
#avfc appreciation post: Nyland what a hero geeza was slated a year ago but last months he has been insane
— max redfern (@maxredfern1) January 28, 2020
Nyland was phenomenal this evening. ⚽️ #Avfc
— Vicki (@VickiYardley91) January 28, 2020
Nyland motm today #AVFC
— Luke (@WarnocksVillans) January 28, 2020
Nyland, what a performance. Questioned why we dropped Reina but he put in an unreal performance there. Not one for sentiment but start him in the Final #AVFC
— Reece (@Reece_AV) January 28, 2020