By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

19th Oct, 2023 | 8:10am

Dan Bardell: 'Absolutely brilliant' Austin MacPhee lacks credit from Aston Villa fanbase

We’re delighted to welcome Sky Sports journalist Dan Bardell as our exclusive Aston Villa columnist as each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the club…

Aston Villa set-piece coach Austin MacPhee deserves more credit from the fanbase for his “brilliant” contribution to the club, according to Dan Bardell.

MacPhee, also the assistant coach of Scotland, moved to Villa Park in 2021 while Dean Smith sat in the dugout. He has survived three managers since, with Smith, Steven Gerrard and Unai Emery all considering him strong enough to keep at the club.

His presence has had a direct impact on the pitch, with the Villans improving drastically at set-pieces. Per The Athletic (26 April), MacPhee struggled to have an influence under Gerrard but became a “vital” part of the backroom set-up.

Bardell has hailed the Scotsman as a “top” set-piece coach, especially considering the relatively short height of the Aston Villa squad.

Speaking exclusively to Villa News, Bardell said: “MacPhee’s been absolutely brilliant. He’s been a top, top coach for Villa and if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t still be here! Managers bring in their own staff. Steven Gerrard kept him, albeit he didn’t utilise him properly.

“But Unai Emery has kept him on board. Villa are pretty good at set-pieces. Sometimes people look too simplistically just in terms of goals, but that doesn’t necessarily quantify if you’ve been a success or not.

“He’s been really really good. He’s working with a team that aren’t massive. They’re not all six-foot-plus, we’re not physically imposing or dominant. So, considering what he’s working with, I think he’s been a breath of fresh air.

“The fans don’t give him the credit that he deserves and long may it continue. He’s been a brilliant addition to the club and Emery obviously thinks so too.”

In other Aston Villa news, an Aston Villa Women defender has been handed a club honour following the exit of one player.