Meet the Gaffer: Episode 1

Welcome to the first edition of “Meet the Gaffer”, where we will be speaking to Rahul W of Aston Villa, who currently sit occupy the final playoff place in Division 3.

We’ll start off with a few questions to get to know Aston Villa boss, Rahul W…
Favourite Football Team: The best club in England, Manchester United
Favourite Footballer of all Time: Juan Mata. Unconventional but I love the guy!
Favourite Band/Singer: Milky Chance
Favourite Film: ‘Zindegi Na Milegi Dobara’- Hindi movie
Favourite Actor: Heath Ledger (for Joker in The Dark Knight)
Favourite Food: Greek Food
Now onto the serious part…
Q. Rahul, you’ve had a fairly inconsistent season so far, but are currently sitting in the playoff positions. Are you happy with your season so far?
A. To be honest, it is a surprise we sit in the play-off spots (even if it is only by a point). Only 8 points separate us from 2nd, which reveals the inconsistency which other clubs have been facing as well. I have been fairly happy with the way the season has gone otherwise, my team is based on a collective team effort and it is showing. Making it to the 4th round of the Cup and Shield has also been a highlight, taking down Arsenal and Chelsea along the way. All in all, the only blip has been the inability to get the winning streaks going.
Q. You’ve only done 1 transfer with another Manager, why do you feel this is?
A. The desire for part-exchange among the top tiered clubs. Most managers rarely sell for cash (a reasonable amount) and with the limited external market in this GW, internal dealing is the only way. Sadly, having lost the likes of Delph and Benteke, Villa do not have many players who may attract the likes of top clubs. I do not intend to sell those players though, which is why internal dealing has been very less for me. Financially, we are sound which allowed us to spend on Ruben Garcia, but with the lack of options it isn’t too easy to sign better players through internal dealing. 
Also, I’ve down 2 transfers: the aforementioned Ruben Garcia deal and a swap for Filip Djuricic and Jordan Amavi. Filip has done well so far for us, which is pleasing.
Q. Who do you feel is/are your key players moving forward with Aston Villa?
A.  Moving forward, there are a few players which remain key to us. At the back, the leadership of Micah Richards, the midfield pairing of Gueye, Sanchez and Veretout, and the attacking talent with Gil, Garcia, Ayew and Djuricic.
More importantly, the future star, Jack Grealish, one who has attracted interest but will not be going anywhere. The fact that he has not been sent out on loan shows the talent he has. He’s one to stay.
However, as I’ve mentioned, the team effort counts. We’ve had 12 different players in the TOTW this season, some squad players too. Players keep stepping up, so no matter who I play there is always someone who does well. 18 different goalscorers are proof to that. Why, even 77-rated and 20-year old Callum Robinson had a game in the league due to the main team being in the red zone and responded with a brace against PSV in a 4-2 win. Simple brilliant. Truly love the project at Villa for these reasons.
Q. If you could manager any other team in Top100, who would it be?
A. This is a good question. Tough to answer though. I’d like a punt at a big club some day though, maybe at Utd. You never know. Some good projects at club through the GW, difficult to choose among 99 clubs!  😉
Q. What is your aim for the rest of the season?
A. The aim is simple: have to consolidate the play-off position while push for automatic promotion. There is enough time to do it, and I’m sure we can challenge. Maybe make some transfers along the way too. Things look bright at Villa that’s for sure.

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