At the end of his first season at Aston Villa, Matt Lowton looked every inch a Premier League footballer and a man being tipped to earn senior international recognition with England in the not too distant future.
His debut campaign had delivered 45 appearances in all competitions and two goals – including a spectacular 35-yard volley against Stoke City.
The former Sheffield United man was expected to kick on from that point and nail down a right-back berth in Paul Lambert’s plans.
He has, however, seen his rising star fade badly, to the point that talk of a loan switch to the Championship or permanent move to a top-flight rival is being mooted during the January transfer window.
Reports of a falling out with Lambert will have done little for his cause, if true, but Lowton will be hugely disappointed to have lost his place to Leandro Bacuna and now Alan Hutton – a man who was firmly frozen out of the picture not all that long ago.
Maybe the Hutton story should act as inspiration to the 25-year-old, an indication of what can be achieved if you knuckle down and let bygones be bygones, with time still very much on his side.
It is, however, clear that he needs to find a spark from somewhere if he is to avoid letting the potential he displayed during a memorable 2012/13 campaign in the Midlands go to waste.
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The Opta statistics above help to highlight Lowton’s struggles, with his impact waning in each passing season.
His game time has been limited this term, but he has failed to impress in the minutes he has been given.
To see his numbers fall in just about every important area for a defender will be of great concern to him, his current bosses and those looking on from afar, with it highly unlikely that Roy Hodgson is among those now keeping a close eye on his development.
All is not lost, but there is only one man who can turn the tide with big decisions now having to taken about where best to get his career back on track.