Frederic Guilbert is one of EIGHT Aston Villa players to have already tasted relegation, but the defender insists there won’t be any tears this season
Aston Villa fans may be alarmed at the number of players who already have relegation on their CV but defender Frederic Guilbert insists there won’t be any more tears this season.
Eight of Dean Smith’s players have fallen through the trapdoor before at eight different clubs – including Guilbert whose French club Caen went down last season before he signed for Villa.
‘It’s true I cried. We had a chance to survive on the last day so it was heart-wrenching that I hadn’t kept a club I loved in Ligue 1,’ admits the 25-year-old defender.
Frederic Guilbert is confident Aston Villa can avoid relegation this season
‘The relegation fight is a little similar this season but I think we have a much tighter and mentally stronger squad to resist it happening again. I think we have all the weapons we need to stay in the Premier League.’
Villa, who face Spurs on Sunday, could view the unhappy history of their players in two ways. The experience could either make them battle hardened for the weeks ahead or leave scars.
Ahmed Elmohamady has twice been relegated from the Premier League with Hull and skipper Jack Grealish is the last survivor from Villa’s own relegation season in 2016.
Eight of Dean Smith’s players have fallen through the trapdoor before at eight different clubs
Injured goalkeeper Tom Heaton went down with Burnley and a similar fate has afflicted Neil Taylor (Wrexham), John McGinn (St Mirren), Guilbert and Douglas Luiz, whose Spanish side Girona dropped out of La Liga last season.
Ezri Konsa was also on Charlton’s books when they were demoted from The Championship.
Guilbert has impressed as a Villa regular in his first season in England and scored an important goal against Leicester which helped Villa reach the Carabao Cup Final.
Capped once by France under-21s, he’s not given up representing the world champions at senior level but his immediate priority is gaining revenge over Spurs who beat Villa 3-1 at White Hart Lane on the opening day with two Harry Kane goals in the final five minutes.
Guilbert has impressed as an Aston Villa regular in his first season in England
‘I was 19th player that day so I was close to the bench, it was one of the first matches I’d ever attended in the Premier League and it was tough to watch,’ he admits.
‘Spurs are big team with great players. But we have seen that everyone can beat everyone in this league. So we will be ready to play.
‘Playing for Aston Villa is extraordinary with the stadium, the atmosphere and everything. It is special. Of course I had the sea in Caen and living in Birmingham, there is no sun! So from that side it’s tricky.
‘The English game is based a lot on the transition between defence and attack. And it is much faster and more intense than France. Maybe that style suits me a little more.’