Former youth team captain Jordan Lyden was recently recalled from his loan at Oldham Athletic to prove himself before his contract expires at the end of the season.
Words by Matt Blogg (@Blogg_Matt)
Jordan Lyden is 23 at the end of January and was sent on loan in the Summer to League Two Oldham Athletic, but since Dean Smith has gone on a re-calling spree of his loans this month, Lyden had returned to Villa Park ready to be involved in the first team picture, although having just picked up an injury in training, it looks as though his hopes of being a future first team player for Villa have been dashed.
Lyden was likely recalled so Smith and his team could have a look at him before his contract runs out in the Summer, but having picked up what is reported as being a nasty injury in a training session, he will have to find another club. When the Australian was in the first team picture in the 2015/16 season, he only made 4 appearances in a famously awful team (2 in the Premier League), but he was almost exempt from criticism due to his age, and any player would have struggled in that team. However, if he was deemed good enough to play in the Premier League under Remi Garde, it begs the question, why have other managers not fancied playing him in the Championship?
He hasn’t played a first team game competitively for Villa since April 2016 and has never been sent on loan before the Summer of 2018, previously playing for and captaining the Under 23’s team, so his development has undoubtedly been hindered by managers’ apparent lack of belief in him. Opportunities may have arisen for Lyden in what now seems certain to be his final 5 months at the club had there been a midfield injury crisis, but now finding himself on the treatment table, his Villa career is as good as over.
Lyden is unlikely to have too many issues when looking for a new club, as his loan spell at Oldham had been going notably well and they would more than likely welcome him back with open arms, but it is unfortunately a process he will almost definitely have to go through now he has been hurt in training. The Australian number 5 was pivotal in the Latics’ famous FA Cup victory over Premier League Fulham, showing his quality against tougher opposition, and while he would have been delighted to get called back to Villa by Smith, he surely would have been more than happy to stay put if he had to. A starter in 3 of Oldham’s last 4 games, he would have been slightly disappointed that he had been prevented from continuing his run in competitive first team matches, but he would have been chomping at the bit to prove to the Villa coaching staff that he deserves to stay at the club that has been his home since 2012.
Typically, Jordan Lyden does fit the formation that Dean Smith likes to play, with the Australian typically being a more defensive-minded midfielder, the likes of which the club seems to lack at the moment. You would however think it would have taken injuries to Bjarnason, Whelan, Lansbury and possibly even Hourihane for Lyden to get a chance, which is why it seemed likely that this would have been his final season as a Villa player even before this major setback. With aspirations of promotion, Smith will probably look to his proven midfielders ahead of Lyden in a time of crisis anyway, but he has proven his dedication to young players by starting the likes of James Bree consistently and fielding a young FA Cup team, so Lyden would have expected to get a chance, albeit a small one. However, having had a history of injuries, this will be incredibly frustrating and disappointing for Lyden, and is ultimately looking like it will be the final nail in his Villa career’s coffin.
While he is a very popular player at Villa having been there for so long and captained the youth team, his Villa days do look numbered and unless he somehow convinces Dean Smith from the treatment room that he will benefit the club, it is extremely unlikely that he will ever taste first team football in a Villa shirt again come June.