Play Me Or Lose Me
Blimey. A play me or lose me ultimatum from Lee Hendrie. Wonder if he needs any help packing his bags?!
Hendrie has suffered from injuries and had a knee operation earlier this season but he also seems to have fallen out of favour with O'Leary after a long period of seemingly being able to do no wrong for the boss. Hendrie now wants to start playing or to go out on loan to resurrect his career. I have lost count of how many times he has needed to resurrect his career BUT the one thing you can say for the midfielder is he is vocal. I've had it on good authority that the majority of the team are as quiet as something that is very quiet (I come up with best analogies) and that Hendrie is the only player that tries to get some aggression and positivity into the team.
Hendrie told the official site: 'It's probably the worst start I've had to a season,' Lets face it, he isn't alone in the Villa team there! 'I've got through the operation and the injury is fine. I've been back in training over a week. The knee feels fantastic and I'm fit, I feel sharp and I'm just looking to get back involved. I was disappointed not to play against Burnley and Manchester City.'
Which is a sign of either confidence or arrogance? Has he ever given enough to expect to be an automatic starter? In fits and starts maybe, but on a permanent basis? I think not.
He added: 'But I'm buzzing and I want to stay injury-free because I want to prove a point - although it seems as if there's so many players ahead of me at the moment. I'm not afraid of that competition, I think I'm on a par with the players around me. I've got a good understanding with the gaffer - he's straight with me - but I'm supposed to be at the peak of my career, and at 28 I'm not getting any younger. I can't really afford to sit around and wait for my opportunity because before I know it, I'll be 29 and that's when you start to slow down a little bit.'
Another option according to the player is 'going out on loan is maybe another route I may have to consider come Christmas time if things aren't going well for me, just to get games because I'm not a young lad. That's not saying that I don't want to be at Villa --I do - and I want to finish my career here. It's an option. At the moment, I'm thinking positive and I believe I'm going to get my place back.'
He is hoping that the run of poor by the team might bring about changes and that he will be one of the players given a chance. If he is, I hope we see the 'determined and 100% Hendrie' ALL of the time, not the pale imitation we see all too often. Seems O'Leary agrees:
'Lee is showing signs of getting back. I'd still like to see the Lee Hendrie of three or four years ago because if we can find that, he would be a real asset for us.'