Report: Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood heading for surprise summer exit?

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

Manager Tim Sherwood reportedly thinks that the 25-year-old midfielder is not creative enough.

Ashley Westwood’s time at Aston Villa could be coming to an end, according to the Daily Mirror.

Westwood, 25, joined Villa from Crewe Alexandra in August 2012 for around £2 million and would go on to become one of former manager Paul Lambert’s most trusted servants, making 95 total appearances over the past three seasons.

The midfielder also proved one of the club’s better performers this term amid their dismal run of form which led to Lambert’s sacking but, according to the Mirror, new boss Tim Sherwood is not a fan.

The former Crewe captain hasn’t featured since a substitute outing in last month’s 1-0 home defeat to Swansea and, despite Carlos Sanchez’s suspension, is said to be struggling to get into the side for weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

The Mirror suggests that Sherwood believes he isn’t creative enough for his 4-4-2 formation and could even be offloaded in the summer after managing no goals and just one assist this term.

Nevertheless, the deeper statistics don’t quite back up those claims, with Westwood in fact among Villa’s leaders in chances created per minute during the 2014-15 Premier League campaign, beating out the likes of Jack Grealish, Carles Gil and Fabian Delph.

  GoalsAssistsTotal Key PassesTotal Key Passes MINSPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Joe Cole 1 1 7 39.71 84% 11 278
Leandro Bacuna 0 3 13 45.31 76% 14 589
Ashley Westwood 0 1 34 51.15 83% 22 1,739
Jack Grealish 0 0 7 53.43 90% 12 374
Carles Gil 0 1 6 59.83 89% 5 359
Christian Benteke 10 2 27 71.48 66% 24 1,930
Fabian Delph 0 2 26 76.31 85% 23 1,984

Having seen Lambert tip him for an England call-up in September, Westwood’s current plight marks a remarkable change in fortunes and one can’t help but feel that Sherwood would be making a mistake in offloading him.

After all, Manchester United loanee and soon-to-be free agent Tom Cleverley is far from guaranteed to be back at Villa next season, with Sky Sports reporting interested from the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, while Villa’s squad depth is far from impressive enough to be selling off proven top-flight contributors.

If he is indeed put up for sale at the end of the season, though, then it’s not hard to imagine a host of Premier League rivals coming in for his signature, as well as Sherwood ending up regretting his decision at a later date.

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