It has been a rough ride for Henri Lansbury in recent years, but the experienced midfielder finds himself part of Dean Smith's Premier League plans at Aston Villa ahead of the new season.
The 28-year-old, who joined the club during the 2017 January window, has seen injuries stagnate his career at Villa Park, but he's back fit and ready to prove his worth after starting just one game under Smith last term.
Towards the back end of last season, Smith labelled Lansbury as a 'talented' footballer, who suites Villa's attacking system 'very well' as he made reference to his bad luck with injuries [AVTV].
But could the midfielder be Villa's surprise package as they return to England's top-flight?
Lansbury was on the scoresheet on Thursday morning as Villa won their opening pre-season encounter against Minnesota United. Could it be a sign of things to come?
At this moment in time, Villa have Lansbury, Jack Grealish, John McGinn, Conor Hourihane and Birkir Bjarnason vying for starting spots for that first game against Tottenham - Grealish and McGinn are near-on starters.
But with a potentially new defensive-minded midfielder entering the building, there will be more competition for places in the middle of the park.
There's no doubt that Smith needs depth in his squad, which will bode well for someone like Lansbury because it means he'll have a shot at the Premier League.
And given his recent problems, when he is given that shot, he might just surprise everyone by producing the goods for Villa because he'll be eager to express his frustrations, in a good way, on the pitch.
It could be argued that, at this moment, his signing hasn't worked, but that has largely been down to him hardly featuring and not being able to prove his worth. Well, that may just come to an end on the biggest stage of them all.
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