After starring for Holland at last summer’s World Cup, a move to one of European football’s leading lights quickly gained an air of inevitability for Aston Villa skipper Ron Vlaar, as gossip columns bulged with potential destinations.
Villa somehow emerged from an intense off-season of speculation with Vlaar still on the books, though this was still taken as a stay of execution regarding his long-term future in the west Midlands.
Struggles on the pitch only reinforced the belief Concrete Ron had outgrown the club, but thanks to Tim Sherwood’s rejuvenating effect on the club’s ailing fortunes this season; Villa’s new boss may well have cemented the defender’s future.
Speaking in the wake of booking a first FA Cup final appearance in 15 years for the Villans, Vlaar dropped a few heavy hints that Sherwood’s influence could keep the Dutchman at Villa Park after all.
“Things have changed for me in the past few months since (Tim) Sherwood took over,” he said.
“I don’t know about my future, but to be part of this feels so good, to feel the joy and relief after the West Brom game (the FA Cup quarter-final). So many people came on the pitch.
“The impact for the fans, how big this club and what it all means,” the skipper added.
Villa are still the 13/5 underdogs to lift the FA Cup with holders Arsenal representing an ominous final hurdle to leap over.
However, having out-performed big favourites Liverpool in every department to book successive Wembley dates, the team will hold no fear.
Underdog status should suit the Villa and thanks to Sherwood, Villa Park might be the best fit for their captain too.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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