McLeish backs Aston Villa star

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish has backed Alan Hutton after the defender injured West Brom’s Shane Long, and has urged him to continue his swashbuckling style of play.

The Scotland international right-back came under criticism after a strong challenge left Long with a knee injury in The Baggies 2-1 win at Villa Park last weekend, with Roy Hodgson in particular vocal in his displeasure.

Despite this, McLeish has stated that it was a 50-50 challenge, and that Hutton was right to go for the ball as he did.

“The unfortunate thing for Hutton was that Shane Long got injured. We are sorry about that outcome,” the former Birmingham manager told Mirror Football.

“But there are tackles like that that go on every week and when there is not an injury at the end of it nobody says anything. The ball was there – Hutton had to stretch for it more than Shane did.

“Unfortunately, you can’t, all of a sudden, reverse the momentum of your body and not make some kind of collision.

“Alan was in a leg-break himself in a tackle with Garry Hay, a Kilmarnock player, six years ago, when I was at Rangers. It was two players sliding in and Alan got a broken leg out of it. So Alan is not that kind of player to do anything deliberately,” he stated.

Despite the criticism, Hutton is set to feature for Villa this weekend against Sunderland at The Stadium of Light.

By Gareth McKnight