£5m player Aston Villa sold in 2017 ‘developed a long way’ since, says PL boss

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Ashley Westwood of Burnley is put under pressure by Wesley of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Aston Villa at Turf Moor on January 01, 2020 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Sean Dyche has stated that Ashley Westwood has ‘developed a long way’ since joining Burnley from Aston Villa, as he told his press conference.

The Burnley boss also added that Westwood was ‘too used’ to recycling the ball when he joined from Villa, but he is now playing the ball ‘forward more’ and putting the ball ‘at risk’.

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When Villa sold Westwood to the Clarets for £5 million in 2017 (Sky Sports), they had just dropped down to England’s second-tier.

The club was managed by Steve Bruce, at the time, and slowly but surely, the players that suffered relegation with the club from the Premier League, were departing. 

Westwood was one of the more popular and respected players with the Villa Park fanbase, even though many of the players during that period weren’t seen in a positive light, for obvious reasons.

But since then, he has gone on to have a strong Premier League career and he has also previously been Burnley’s Player of the Season.

Nonetheless, this is what Dyche had to say regarding Westwood’s game and how much he has developed since they snapped him up from the Midlands.

“We like what Westy has developed into,” said Dyche. “When he came here, I spoke to him endlessly, they call it recycling the ball nowadays in modern football, but he got too used to that. 

“He stopped putting the ball at risk. I said to him ‘I wanted him to put the ball at risk’. He’s a good passer. He has got a lovely technique. Really good touch. And I believe he has added to his game. That freedom to put it at risk and make a mistake. 

“He should be really pleased with himself in his career because he has developed a long way during the last few years he has been here. 

“He came here as an older(er) pro. He could have been set in his ways. But he hasn’t been. He’s opened his mind. He gets turned more. He plays the ball forward more. And puts the ball at risk more.” 

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 25: Ashley Westwood of Burnley celebrates after scoring their side's fourth goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley at Molineux on April 25, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.  (Photo by Molly Darlington - Pool/Getty Images)
Photo by Molly Darlington – Pool/Getty Images

Westwood wouldn’t get into Villa’s team now, but he’s one of very few players that has done well since those dark days in the Midlands.

Many of those players have either retired or vanished from the face of the footballing earth. 

But Westwood is still going strong in England’s top-flight.

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