Aston Villa's Leandro Bacuna enjoying life at right-back

The Dutchman has transitioned from the wing to defence since arriving at Villa Park in the summer of 2013.

Aston Villa’s Leandro Bacuna has told AVTV that he is starting to feel at home at right-back after two seasons of experience at the position.

Bacuna, 23, joined Villa from FC Groningen in June 2013 for around £3 million, having impressed on the wing for the Eredivisie outfit.

He would go on to score five goals in 38 total appearances during his first campaign in the Midlands but, while he saw a fair amount of time in midfield, former manager Paul Lambert also started to use the versatile Dutchman in defence.

However, despite earning encouraging reviews, Bacuna found himself out of favour over the first half of last term, earning just seven Premier League cameos for a total of 184 minutes, and admitted last month that he was considering his future at the club at the time.

The subsequent arrival of new boss Tim Sherwood resulted in a turnaround in fortunes for the former Under-21 international, though, as he would capitalise on full-back Alan Hutton’s fitness woes to start 11 of the final 13 games.

 2014-15 Premier League PositionTeamGoalsAssistsTotal Key PassesPassing AccuracyTotal Crosses MINSCrossing AccuracyTotal Tackles MINSTotal Clearances MINSAppearancesMins Played
Leandro Bacuna DF Aston Villa 0 5 17 79% 14.43 27% 39.24 54.5 19 981
Alan Hutton DF Aston Villa 1 0 23 77% 22.38 27% 49.33 23.7 30 2,417

While recording five assists during the run-in, as well as making huge strides forward with his defensive work, it remains to be seen whether Sherwood believes Bacuna is the club’s long-term answer at the position but the No. 7 insists that he has enjoyed the transition.

“When I came to Villa I wasn’t a right-back but I’ve played there for almost two years now and it’s getting more exciting,” he said.

“It’s getting more fun for me, definitely. I wouldn’t say it’s my top position but it’s one I really like at the moment.”

Bacuna’s crossing expertise also earned him widespread plaudits during Villa’s fight to retain their top-flight status for next season, having added another dimension to the attack and helped close friend Christian Benteke keep up his impressive scoring run.

Speaking on his deliveries, he said: “It takes a lot of practice! I just try to hit the ball as well as I can and look for the big man [Benteke] in the box.”

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