Emile Heskey believes Conor Hourihane would benefit from leaving Aston Villa with Swansea City eyeing a loan deal for the out-of-favour midfielder, speaking exclusively to HITC.
It may be a tad harsh to suggest Hourihane is one of those players who can be considered ‘too good for the Championship’ but not quite at the level required for the Premier League.
The Ireland international played a major role as Villa maintained their top-flight status last season, his devilish set-pieces contributing to a respectable tally of five assists.
But Hourihane’s finest displays in claret and blue undoubtedly came during that 2018/19 promotion-winning campaign.
And, after falling behind Ross Barkley and 19-year-old Jacob Ramsey in Dean Smith’s pecking order, the former Barnsley ace appears to be on his way back to the second tier.
“For any player who is sitting on the periphery, it’s a difficult decision to make. Personally, I would say go and play somewhere. Especially if you’ve been sat on the bench for a number of weeks,” says Heskey, who played for Aston Villa between 2009 and 2012.
“I got to a point at a club once where I was sat on the bench and I asked what the situation was, because I had clubs in for me. They said, ‘You can’t leave because we need you’ – and then I never played!
“Personally, I think players should go if they can and try to get game time somewhere.
“It’s all great being at a Premier League club but, if you’re not playing, what’s the point? Wouldn’t you rather be at a Championship club, playing every week and enjoying it?”
Goal-shy Nottingham Forest are crying out for a creative midfielder but, after missing out on Jack Byrne and Ben Whiteman, Hourihane looks set to slip through their fingers too.
The 29-year-old, who earns £30,000 a week, has started only three league games this season.