FansBet Star Sixes 2019 – Former Villa Players Well Represented

Aston Villa have some top-class former players in action at the 2019 FansBet Star Sixes.

Heart Of The Holte

Following the success of the inaugural Star Sixes tournament back in the summer of 2017 in which France were crowned champions and distinguished Spanish marksman Michel Salgado finished as the tournaments top goal scorer, Glasgow’s SSE Hydro will be hosting the next between 4th-6th January 2019.

There can’t be many better ways to bring in the New Year than watching a bunch of former professional footballers being given another chance to pull on their countries colours, revive old rivalries and battle it out on a six-a-side indoor pitch.

This time around all five home nations will be competing alongside an all-star Rest of the World team at the FansBet Star Sixes. Big names are a plenty and to help whet your appetite even more, there will be no fewer than five former Villa players dusting of their boots in order to take part.

Football legends set for Fansbet Star Sixes 2019

David James (1999-2001)

Let’s face it, he didn’t do bad out of football considering he was tarred with the Calamity tag from very early on in his career.

David James is the fourth highest appearance maker in Premier League history and the top ranked goalkeeper ahead of Mark Schwarzer and two others who played between the sticks for the Villa, Shay Given and Brad Friedel. With 572 outings to his name it’ll take some doing for someone to come along and knock him off his perch.

The story goes that James signed for Aston Villa following a day on the booze at a race day with a couple of his former Liverpool teammates. It just so happened that the late Doug Ellis was at this meeting in the next booth along and having downed a few too many shandies James plucked up the courage to pop in and convince the then club chairman that he was the man to replace Mark Bosnich as Villa’s number one.

Luke Young (2008-2012)

One of the most underrated right-backs of the noughties and can consider himself desperately unlucky to have notched up just seven England caps in a career spanning 17 years.

Young was a very tidy player, surprisingly mobile and was constantly looking to get on the overlap to support the wide-man ahead of him. He was able to play all across the back four and I vividly recollect him turning out for us at left back for a period of time with Wilfred Bouma being out injured.

To this day I sense that Young still had another year or two in him at Villa before his ill-fated switch to QPR in the summer of 2011. The versatile defender was perhaps just another victim of the austerity Randy Lerner had imposed on the club 12 months previous and came at a time that we had just seen the departures of Luke’s namesake Ashley to Manchester United and Stewart Downing to Liverpool.

The FansBet Star Sixes #3TouchChallenge

Robert Pires (2010-11)

The man whose set to captain the Rest of the World team in Glasgow. Without a doubt he’s one of the greatest players to have graced the Premier League and on his day he was simply unplayable.

Unfortunately for us Villa fans he signed on with the club in the twilight years of what was a glistening career during which he lifted two Premier League titles, a couple of FA Cups, a European Championship and the biggest crown of all – the World Cup.

In November 2010 a then 37-year-old Pires’ penned a six month deal at the club and towards the end of that short stint the Frenchman candidly summed-up his time on B6, “My experience at Villa has been a failure.”

Despite only making twelve claret and blue appearances he did at least score a goal, in an FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers.

Robert Pires chats to FansBet about the 2019 Star Sixes

Stiliyan Petrov (2006-2013)

The main attraction for any Villa fan that has bought – or looking to buy – tickets for the 2019 FansBet Star Sixes is a man that needs no introduction.

Our former captain that saw his professional playing days come to an abrupt end due to leukaemia. A combative box-to-box midfielder that was equally adept moving forward as he was doing the dogged stuff in front of the back four.

Time-and-time again Stan would win the ball, whether it be by virtue of a no-nonsense tackle or clever interception and then stride forward with such guile. And then as if it couldn’t get any more beautiful he’d shrug off his man and go and show you just how composed he was and pick out any pass you could’ve asked of him.

The middle of the park was Petrov’s hunting ground as much as the plains of The Serengeti is to a lion. He was a natural and a sheer delight to watch.

Star Sixes 2019 FansBet Quiz – Pires, Donnelly and Ferguson

Emile Heskey (2009-2012)

Legend has it that the then Villa manager Martin O’Neill rejected the chance to sign Colombian hitman Radamel Falcao so that he could be reacquainted with his former Leicester City striker Emile Heskey in January 2009.

Just four days on from his arrival at the club the England striker scored the only goal of the game on his debut away at Pompey but would only go on to score another 13 goals in all competitions over the next three and a half years.

For me personally, strikers like Heskey are always a bit of an enigma, because unlike with most centre-forward’s you don’t sign them for their goals but more so for all the stuff that often goes unnoticed. The holding of the ball and the link up play.

At that time we had big John Carew up top – who did a similar job to Heskey but had a few more goals in him – and so I can’t help but feel that had we gone and got an out-and-out goal scorer (better than Gabby) then that might have been the missing piece of the jigsaw in our quest for the top four.

Owen, Cole, Heskey: Meet the England Star Sixes line-up

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