Former Aston Villa striker criticises the club’s recruitment policy

According to the Birmingham Mail, former Aston Villa striker Tony Cascarino has criticised the club’s recruitment policy after a big summer of spending is set to end with another season in the Championship.

The 54-year-old – who scored 11 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions for the side in the early 90s – believes owner Tony Xia got it all wrong last summer after giving former Villa boss Roberto Di Matteo more than £50m to spend on new players.

With three of those additions – Pierluigi Gollini, Aaron Tshibola and Ross McCormack – leaving the club on loan during the January transfer window, and others such as Tommy Elphick struggling to break into the starting line-up, the former Republic of Ireland believes the funds were not used wisely.

Villa would have hoped to have made an instant return to the Premier League as Newcastle United look as though they are going to, but they are nine points from the play-off positions with six matches of the campaign remaining.

However, the former Republic of Ireland international believes that current Villa boss Steve Bruce is the man to turn them into a good side next year.

Cascarino told the Birmingham Mail: “It will be a big summer and he [Bruce] will get the people he wants.

“Villa is a fantastic football club to go and play for and they have to use that to their advantage to create a very good team next year.

“Villa have got it [the recruitment] disastrously wrong. If you get that right then next season they’ll be fine.”

Steve Bruce’s men travel to Burton Albion on Saturday and know that only three points will do if they are to keep their slim hopes of snatching a top six spot alive.