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How John Terry will fare in his debut season for Aston Villa, according to Football Manager

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John Terry. A household name across England and, perhaps, across the world. The epitome of the one club man (other than a brief loan at Nottingham Forest). Until now that is. Recently, John Terry signed for Championship outfit Aston Villa on a free transfer in the hope that he can be a catalyst for the club and their return to the heights of Premier League football.

Villa fans are waiting with baited breath to see how their veteran centre-back will perform in the second flight, and so are we here at The Boot Room. That’s why we have used Football Manager 2017 to simulate how Terry might perform at the helm of the Villa defence.

For those that don’t know, Football Manager is a painstakingly well-researched simulation game. Sports Interactive have various employed scouts and volunteers that watch game after game and training session after training session to ensure the attributes they give to the players are as correct as possible.

In Football Manager 2017, here is what John Terry looks like:

At the age of 35 (He’s currently 36 and will be at the start of the season) in game, Terry has been retired from international football for four years. Technically, the Englishman still has something to offer. With an above average first touch, and decent finishing for a veteran central defender, he will offer something going forward as well as defensively. His heading is his best technical attribute and will offer both offensive and defensive incentives to the side. His marking, tackling, passing and technique are all superb for a defender (with some of these to be expected).

Physically, he’s strong and naturally fit, but in terms of speed, agility, pace and acceleration, he’s slow and groggy – and this might let the team down.

Mentally, is where Terry is strongest. He’s a hard worker, a wonderful, brave leader and fits in well within any given team. As well as this, he’s able to anticipate the game well, concentrates throughout the entirety of a game and is aggressive when necessary.

 

So, onto the simulation….

In his first five games for the club, John Terry has planted the seed to be considered a success in the eyes of the Villa faithful. He’s received a Player Of The Match award, provided an assist, has an 88% passing rate and an average rating of 7.58. However, his positive performances have not translated into results and the Midlands outfit are languishing in 11th position.

Terry’s arrival has left Micah Richards out in the cold, with the former captain making no appearances within the first month of Championship football. Within the five games, Terry has been booked twice, so he should tread carefully from this point.

The side have won four out of seven games, drawing two and losing the other one.

By January 1st, Terry has made 24 appearances, increasing his assist tally by two. He now has five Player Of The Match awards and is by far the best player in the team with an average rating of 7.41, with Conor Hourihane in second – with an average rating of 7.28.

In nineteen games Terry has only received three more yellow cards, meaning he is keeping his temper subdued. He’s managed to keep his passing success at an impressive 85%, and 50% of his shots are on target, which is exceptional for a defender.

Villa aren’t perhaps utilising Terry to his full potential, using Tommy Elphick and James Chester as their Captain and Vice-Captain, but he has played every game this season other than one. The side are still sat in 11th at this point in the season, but are only four points away from the playoffs. Can Terry stay fit in the final part of the season and help Villa towards promotion?

By the end of the season, John made 45 appearances for Aston Villa – making him the fourth most played player in the Villains squad. He also finished the season with seven Player Of The Match awards. He received one injury all season, a broken nose.

His average rating by the end of the season improved by 0.01% compared to January, and he was in fact the best player in the squad by a country mile.

Despite all this, Aston Villa didn’t manage to make the play-offs and finished 9th, which is still an improvement on the previous season. Although they improved, the season also caused them to be placed under a Transfer Embargo, meaning that, because they did not get promoted, they would not be able to make any transfers next season.

So, judging by Football Manager, Terry’s season will be great, and Aston Villa fans should be excited for what is to come. Fingers crossed that those fans don’t experience the same as these virtual supporter in terms of their final position, though.

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Aston Villa will be rewarded for their patience by holding onto young defender

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Photo: Getty Images.

Signed in January on loan from Manchester United, it’s fair to say that Axel Tuanzebe has not quite lived up to expectations at Villa Park with only five league appearances since moving to Birmingham.

The full-back has completed 90 minutes only once since his loan signing and is yet to impress Steve Bruce sufficiently to earn a regular spot in the side, having made back to back starts only once.

Despite that, The Sun say that it is likely that regardless of whether the Villans are promoted or not in the summer, Tuanzebe will remain on loan at Aston Villa next season.

The reports suggest that he will join Manchester United for their pre-season tour of the US for Jose Mourinho to re-evaluate the defender, who he gave a Premier League debut to in May 2017, before opting to send him out on loan.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

That a host of top flight and second tier clubs are still interested despite him not convincing for Villa says a lot about Tuanzebe’s potential. Steve Bruce is a good judge of player potential too, and if he is keen to retain his services then it is for a reason.

Strong in the tackle yet quick, Tuanzebe did not look out of place among the elite when he made his United debut against Arsenal and has not many any clear errors whilst on loan at Villa either.

By sticking with their man, Villa will reap the rewards in the long-term. At Championship level with a full pre-season and regular football behind him, Tuanzebe could easily stake his claim and begin to fulfill his potential.

If Villa are promoted, it’s hard to see how Tuanzebe will become first choice, but he will come cheap and is certainly an interesting option to have amongst the ranks.

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Top Aston Villa talent Easah Suliman is struggling on loan at Grimsby Town

The Aston Villa talent is currently out on loan at Grimsby Town.

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Aston Villa have plenty of young talent coming through of whom the hope will be a future in the first-team. One such player is central defender Easah Suliman. The 20-year-old is a highly-rated local lad who has been considered a top talent for a number of years now.

His reputation is built mainly on his excellent credentials with the England youth teams. The defender has played for his country from under-16 level and has even captained the side at under-16, under-17 and  under-19 level.

At the under-19 level, he helped England win the European Championships last summer and he is now a part of the very successful England under-20 unit, playing six games and scoring two goals at that level.

So Aston Villa are right to have high hopes for his future.

However, he is not currently at the club and has been struggling to make a name for himself during his current loan spell.

Suliman, who has previously been on loan at Cheltenham Town, joined League Two side Grimsby Town on loan until the end of the season back in January.

(during the 8 Nations Tournament match between Italy U20 and England U20 on October 5, 2017 in Gorgonzola, Italy.

It was supposed to see him get a chance of first-team football but he has so far been used sparingly at Blundell Park.

Suliman has played just 58 minutes of first-team football for the Mariners since heading to the League Two side in January.

Aston Villa will undoubtedly be disappointed to see that Suliman has not managed to have an impact in the lower leagues. The problem with a player of Suliman’s style, a confident ball-playing defender, is that in League Two such qualities are not always what a club is looking for.

Suliman is under contract at Aston Villa until 2019 and next season the club need to find him a more suited loan spell if he is to get the first-team football he requires. In the long run, the youngster has all the attributes necessary to be a first-team player at Aston Villa.

But he will need to learn from his tough Grimsby experience and come back to Bodymoor Heath stronger in the summer.

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Should Paul Lambert consider a Gabriel Agbonlahor reunion at Stoke City?

The Stoke City boss got the best out of Agbonlahor at times during his spell at Aston Villa.

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Reports in the press this week are suggesting that Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor may decide to retire from the sport this summer. The Sun is suggesting the striker may decide to hang up his boots this summer should he not receive an offer he deems appropriate.

The former England international is out of contract in the summer and his club has little or no interest in keeping him at Villa Park. After coming through the ranks at the club, Agbonlahor will bring an end to his 17-year association with Aston Villa.

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The striker has struggled with his fitness in recent years and his form has also dropped dramatically but, at just 31-years-old, it would be a strange move to quit altogether.

What Agbonlahor needs is to work with a former boss of his who got some of the best out of him. Paul Lambert had such an impact at Aston Villa. Agbonlahor pushed for an England recall in 2013 under the guidance of the Scottish manager. Lambert had him leaner and smarter in attack and generally, it was a good working relationship.

So could Lambert hand him a life-line?

Lambert looks like he will be managing in the Championship next season. The Stoke City boss saw his side draw 1-1 with Burnley today. The gap between the Potters and survival is getting no smaller.

In order to return to the top-flight Stoke will need some new recruits and Agbonlahor could be perfect.

(Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

Whilst not the player he was five years ago, the experienced attacker has played just six times this season, scoring one goal, this is still a player who was a Premier League star under Lambert’s rule just five years ago.

Of course, he won’t be outpacing many players these days. But his experience and nous could be a vital addition to Stoke’s cause if they are fighting to return to the Premier League next season.

If Lambert can get Agbonlahor anywhere near his best, then the Potters would be on to a winner.

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