Sunday 26

Aston Villa

Hourihane will not play left-back again – McCarthy

11th September 2019, 10:32 by Neil Foster

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy insists Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane was only used as a left-back against Bulgaria to give him some game time.

Hourihane earned his 13th cap for the men in green as they beat Krasimir Balakov’s side 3-1 in a friendly in Dublin on Tuesday evening.

The former Barnsley man, a central midfielder for the Villans, struggled on the left side of defence and was replaced by James McClean in the 68th minute.

McCarthy has now lifted the lid on his decision to play the Villa star out of position and it seems as though it was his only option given the fact that the man from County Cork was desperate to get on the pitch.

“It was never an experiment,” the boss told Virgin Media Sports. “He’s never, ever going to play there because I don’t think he can play there. He wanted minutes and he asked me beforehand ‘Gaffa, can I have some minutes?’.

“I said, ‘well not in midfield because there was always going to be the others, but if you fancy left-back?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I do’. He has got a wand of a left-foot. But he’s not a left-back.”

Hourihane has made two Premier League appearances for Dean Smith’s side this term, starting the season-opening 3-1 loss to Tottenham in north London.

The 28-year-old is much more comfortable in midfield and enjoyed 84 outings for the West Midlanders in the two seasons before their return to the top flight.

He will hope to return to that position when domestic action resumes, with Villa due to welcome another side in claret and blue to Villa Park on Monday as Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United come calling.

The Hammers are seventh in the standings after a decent start to proceedings and it will be another tough encounter for Dean Smith’s Premier League new boys.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.

More Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Smith not done in Villa’s search for more firepower

25th January 2020, 20:08

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has confirmed the club are hopeful of signing another striker before the January transfer window shuts.

Aston Villa

On This Day: Leeds end dismal run against Villa

24th January 2020, 17:24

Leeds set off on an impressive 13-game unbeaten run in the Premier League after beating Aston Villa 2-1 On This Day in 2001.

Aston Villa

Positive influence Reina the perfect Villa pick-me-up

24th January 2020, 12:24

Aston Villa have been busy with comings and goings this month, but their most astute piece of business could turn out to be the capture of Pepe Reina.

Aston Villa

Monaco rule out Slimani move amid Premier League interest

23rd January 2020, 18:37

Monaco intend to keep hold of on-loan striker Islam Slimani for the rest of the season, ending any chance of a Premier League return.

Aston Villa

Watford the big losers on a dramatic night in the survival race

22nd January 2020, 05:52

The battle for Premier League survival took a big twist on Tuesday night and Watford were the big losers in more ways than one.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa 2-1 Watford

21st January 2020, 21:47

Ezri Konsa scored with virtually the last kick of the match as Aston Villa came from behind to beat relegation rivals 2-1 Watford at Villa Park.

Recent Sport Headlines

Manchester City

Guardiola explains tough challenge for City to find Aguero replacement

26th January 2020, 11:49

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has admitted the club have a mighty job on their hands to find a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero at the Etihad.

Rugby League

Burrell ready to silence his critics

26th January 2020, 11:02

Warrington Wolves centre Luther Burrell is confident he has finally adapted to rugby league after his summer switch in 2019.


Lampard demands Blues improvement after stuttering cup display

26th January 2020, 10:47

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard knows his side must do better after they were made to battle to a 2-1 victory over Hull City on Saturday.

Rugby League

Smith happy to give youngsters a go

26th January 2020, 10:19

Hull KR coach Tony Smith has confirmed the younger members of his squad will be given a chance to impress against Wakefield Trinity.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs star Winks learning to battle through the pain

26th January 2020, 10:11

Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks admits he is still learning how to manage and play through his troublesome ankle injury.


Kenin gets the better of Gauff

26th January 2020, 10:07

American teenager Coco Gauff is out of the Australian Open after Sofia Kenin battled back to secure her place in the quarter-finals.

Newcastle United

Frustrated Newcastle boss Bruce rues replay after Oxford stalemate

26th January 2020, 09:41

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has revealed his frustration after his plans for a winter break were hit by the need for an FA Cup replay against Oxford United.


Arteta eager to ease pressure on Arsenal’s rising star Martinelli

26th January 2020, 09:15

Mikel Arteta is eager for Arsenal attacker Gabriel Martinelli to not be put under too much unnecessary pressure during his development at the club.