Dean Smith Seeks Help to Solve Villa’s Goalkeeping Problem

A couple of times now in his interviews Aston Villa Head Coach Dean Smith has said he expects his goalkeepers to be good shot stoppers, hinting like most Villa supporters, he hasn’t exactly been impressed by Orjan Nyland’s all-round game.

Any keeper in the top couple of tiers in England should be a proficient shot stopper. Nyland has made some decent saves during the season so far, but his command of his box and catching have presented huge questions marks.

Whether it was a reaction to these apparent deficiencies, or not, Smith has recruited the services of former Walsall colleague Neil Cutler to become Villa’s goalkeeping coach.

“There was a space available in the goalkeeping department, and I sat down with Christian Purslow and Jesus Garcia Pitarch and gave them names of people I thought could do a really good job for us,” said Smith.

“They’ve done their due diligence and have handled negotiations with West Bromwich Albion very well,” added the Villa Head Coach.

“I’m pleased we’ve got him and that Albion have allowed him to join us. I look forward to working with him again.”

Leaving the Baggies

Cutler, 42, who had a spell at Villa as a player, as David James’ back-up (he made just one substitute appearance during the 1999/2000 season), had only recently joined the Baggies (whom he also played for) from Walsall in January.

Albion head coach Darren Moore had kept him on to be in his backroom staff, when he took over the job, and was keen to retain his services further.

“We tried everything to persuade Neil to stay,” rationalised Moore, this week. “He enjoyed a very strong working relationship with Dean from their past connections and felt a strong pull to work with him again.”

While Nyland finds his feet at Villa, hopefully the recruitment of Cutler will help him both develop his game and confidence, as Villa go into the vital winter period of games against promotion rivals.


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  1. It’s just another mess the previous regime has left. You have to feel sorry for Smith. We make Johnstone into one of best English keepers without haveing the sense to secure him earlier. We have a good young keeper so take another on loan with no experience then 3 days later sign another keeper Nyland, who like all Bruce’s signings won’t play much. In addition we had another good promising keeper on the books in the summer we let him go and Leicester snap him up! It’s unbelievable how incompetent they all were for so long. It is going to take until next season to make things better. Even then we will still have a lot of Bruce’s terrible signings on our books. Hopefully Smith may be able to get things from they had before they arrived and manage to move a few on. If we could actually scrape into the play offs it will be a huge bonus. Smith would have us a bit better prepared. You can now see just how good Fulham were.

  2. The fact that they are trying to improve Nyland’s game instead of looking for a keeper in January is a welcome change. We need some consistency at our back-line

    • Who says Villa aren’t looking for a keeper in January? If Nyland doesn’t improve, then they’ll have to act. Moreira isn’t going to cut it as a No.1, based on the evidence so far. Villa will need a half decent keeper to get promoted this season, that much is true.

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