Mark Bosnich has discussed Aston Villa’s goalkeeper situation, while talking on The Athletic’s 1874 podcast (March 19, 07:35 and then 09:25)
Villa find themselves in a very precarious situation during the Premier League suspension, as they currently occupy a place in the relegation zone.
They are still just two points from safety though, so Dean Smith will likely be looking for any way possible to get his team to safety.
One position that may spring to mind is his goalkeeping options, which Bosnich spoke about: “They’ve been unlucky, obviously they suffered the injuries with [Tom] Heaton and [Jed] Steer. Lovre Kalinic hasn’t played a game, he’s out on loan. Pepe Reina’s been brought in. [Orjan] Nyland, you know, when I was watching him in the semi-final against Leicester he did really well.
“It’s sort of been a mish-mash, and I mean that in the best possible way and there’s no disrespect to any of the goalkeepers in terms of who’s playing and who’s not.”
He added: “The fact they’ve got Pepe Reina in obviously they’re bringing in experience because of this important run-in, but as we saw at Leicester it’s very, very difficult because Pepe Reina’s been used to playing for teams at the top end of the table.
“It’s not the type of period as well you feel as a goalkeeper you know every mistake could lead to a goal and you know what the stakes are.”
He then said: “[It’s] why they probably went for experience, but right now at this moment in time I think the best bit of advice I can give is forget about experience, whoever is playing well – and that goes for every position – should basically start. It’s too important right now to think about anything long-term. It’s got to be right here, right now.”
The Spaniard had an absolute nightmare during the loss against Leicester, rushing out of his goal to make it easy for Harvey Barnes to open the scoring – a moment that seemed to be the catalyst for Villa’s capitulation.
However, he has also made some very important interventions during his short time at Villa, including his stop to deny Neal Maupay’s volley and the double-save against Watford, which ultimately helped the Villans take four points from those games.
Looking at Nyland, he was definitely impressive during the cup run, but he also could have done a lot better during the heavy defeat against Manchester City in the league.
Therefore, it isn’t as simple for Smith as looking at one individual performance and deciding what to do based off of that, even if Bosnich appears to be hinting that he should consider giving Reina the chop.
The Spaniard and Norwegian now have six and eight games for Villa under their respective belts, so Smith needs to ruthlessly look at their overall levels of performance and pick the man who will continue in goal until the season’s end – now is the best time for this highly influential decision to be made.