Former Aston Villa forward Darren Bent was full of praise for Conor Hourihane’s two-goal display in Tuesday night’s 6-1 thumping of Crewe.
Speaking on Carabao Cup on Quest, 28/08, 11:45pm, Bent was keen to point out how good the Irishman was last season, and says he can feel hard done by about being left out.
He said: “He was brilliant last season in the Championship and was crucial to why Villa went up. He’s been a bit harshly left out after the first game of the season.
“He probably felt he had a point to prove. He put in a really, really good performance, arguably he could have been man of the match with his two goals but what a performance.”
TBR’s View – Hourihane has done all he can to impress
Dean Smith knew he needed to beef up his squad going into the Premier League and part of that has seen him increase competition in the holding midfield area where Hourihane plays.
In came Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba to battle with the £30,000-a-week (Spotrac) former Barnsley man and that’s what has forced him out of the team for the last two Premier League matches.
But Hourihane has come back even stronger and that’s exactly how Smith will have been hoping he would react; instead of wilting in the face of the pressure, he has done everything he can to impress when back on the pitch on Tuesday night.
He has the advantage of being the settled man at Villa, who knows how to work with Jack Grealish and John McGinn from last season and we’ll soon see if that’s enough to get him his Premier League place back.