Bournemouth 0 Aston Villa 1: Tim Sherwood grafts French bargains on to 'British core'


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Having spoilt Bournemouth’s big day with a team featuring four French debutants, Aston Villa’s manager, Tim Sherwood, emphasised the need for a British core. Villa have done the bulk of their summer shopping abroad but Sherwood, who also began with five native players, insisted, “that core of British players is unbelievably important” with any further signings “probably coming in from the British market”.

Nevertheless, he added:  “No one has given more opportunities to English players than me but I looked around and the English players were far too expensive. The way the market was, these French boys we brought in were the value for money and had the level of experience playing competitive football in France.”

The performances of Idrissa Gueye and the three Jordans – striker Ayew, midfielder Veretout and left-back Amavi, who rose to the challenge of keeping Matt Ritchie quiet – suggested Sherwood has bought well. It is, though, a long season and none of them has experience of a competition as physically demanding as the Premier League, nor one without a winter break. Judgement must be reserved, as it must on a Villa side who won their opening games in 2013 and 2014 but still struggled.


Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager, was understandably trying to take the long-term view too after this 1-0 home defeat. “The start of any season is pivotal, but not defining,” he said. “It’s a disappointing result but we are going to take a lot of positives from the game.

“The pleasing thing is we created the chances. As long as you are getting the ball in their box and making them make decisions, I think we will be fine.

After Dan Gosling had fired over and Brad Guzan denied Callum Wilson and Marc Pugh, Villa took the points with an old-school goal, a thundering header from a corner that former Villa spearheads Andy Gray, Peter Withe or Andy Lochhead would have been proud of. The irony was that it was scored by French-born Benin international Rudy Gestede, another summer recruit, albeit from Ewood Park. Gestede is already a Villa favourite, underlining that supporters do not care where a player comes from, as long as he works hard and makes an impact on the pitch.