Marcus Maddison would excite Aston Villa fans - more so than Stewart Downing

Stewart Downing -  Liverpool celebrates his goal

Peterborough United's explosive winger is reportedly on Aston Villa's shopping list alongside their former flame.

If Aston Villa are to push on and challenge for promotion this season, they can’t afford to put sentiment above sense.

Reports linking the Midlands giants with a loan swoop for former fans favourite Stewart Downing might have elicited memories of happier times at Villa Park but Steve Bruce’s side must look to the future, and the long-term, if they are to avoid becoming yet another big name entrenched in the second tier.

The Birmingham Mail claim that Bruce is interested in giving Downing, available for loan after falling out of favour at Middlesbrough, a route back to Villa Park in January. However, the former England international is 32 these days, his energy and ability to influence a game waning.

Stewart Downing -  Liverpool celebrates his goal

Furthermore, it cannot be forgotten that he left Villa under a cloud in 2011, signing for Liverpool just weeks after committing his future to the claret and blues. If Fabian Delph would not be welcomed slithering back to the Midlands, than neither should Downing.

Therefore, links with 23-year-old Peterborough prospect Marcus Maddison are a whole lot more intriguing.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony confirmed on Twitter, per the Birmingham Mail, that club legend Brian Little had ventured down to London Road on more than one occasion this season and Villa would surely have received a few glowing reports about Maddison’s progression.

Peterborough's Marcus Maddison celebrates scoring their second goal

Maddeningly frustrating he may be, the former Newcastle youngster is nonetheless capable of the spectacular, blessed with a Ronaldo-esque knuckleball and a street footballer’s unpredictability.

He is a true flair player, ingenious one minute and infuriating the next though with six goals in 20 League One starts to back up his potential. And, in a Villa squad rather lacking in inspiration at times, Maddison could make the difference.

Certainly more than Stewart ‘cross, block, repeat’ Downing.

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