Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has surprised many after Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd was named in his 23-man squad ahead of next month’s Asia Cup campaign.
Having made his debut for the Socceroos in a 2-0 friendly defeat against Belgium in September, Herd will join the likes of Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak and Mark Bresciano Postecoglou’s men look to capture their first major international trophy on home soil as they take on Kuwait on January 9.
25-year-old Herd, an unused substitute in Villa's 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Saturday, has struggled for playing time in recent seasons. With a lack of consistent performances and injuries hindering his progress, Herd made his senior debut for Villa in 2010 under Gerard Houllier, while the majority of his playing time at Villa was during Alex McLeish’s reign as coach in the 2011-2012 season.
After taking an indefinite leave of absence near the end of last season, Herd returned to training at the start of this season and secured a month-long loan move to Championship side Bolton Wanderers. His injury problems would again prevail, hampering his stay at the Reebok Stadium as he was limited to only three appearances in all competitions for Neil Lennon’s side.
With the ability to play in a range of positions across the midfield and defense, utility man Herd offers a versatile skill set that could provide adequate cover for multiple positions from the bench. Plying his trade at Villa primarily at right-back, he can also play at centre-back and as a defensive midfielder, providing competition and back-up for the likes of Ivan Franjic, Trent Sainsbury and Mile Jedinak.
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Herd is also joined in the squad by Jason Davidson, who moved to West Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion after impressing at this year’s World Cup in Brazil.
With his current deal at Villa Park ending next year, Herd could use the Asia Cup as his platform in a bid to earn a new deal, or to grab the attention of potential suitors for his signature.