Ex-Men: Aston Villa

by Ashley Houghton

We profile three players who've represented both clubs.

Alan Hutton

Glaswegian Alan Hutton started his career with Glasgow Rangers and made over 100 appearances for his boyhood team before joining Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.

After playing just 40 times in his first three years in North London, Hutton joined Sunderland on loan towards the back end of the 2009-10 season.

The Scotland international played 11 games in his three months with the Black Cats.

Hutton then joined Aston Villa, and since the arrival of Paul Lambert he has spent time on loan with Nottingham Forest and Real Mallorca.

Craig Gardner

Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner started his professional career with Aston Villa after progressing through the youth ranks and making his debut in 2005.

Gardner spent five years with Villa, making 80 appearances, before joining local rivals Birmingham City in 2010.

The 26-year-old spent just one year with the Blues as they were relegated from the Barclays Premier League, though Gardner was their top scorer with ten goals in all competitions.

He joined the Black Cats in the summer of 2011 and has become an instant fans’ favourite; he has already bagged 11 goals in his 73 games on Wearside.

Kevin Phillips

Arguably one of the greatest players in the club’s history, ‘Super Kev’ made 235 appearances for Sunderland, scoring 130 goals.

He started his professional career with Watford after an impressive spell with Baldock Town and, after scoring 24 goals for the Hornets, he was snapped up by the Black Cats in 1997.

He spent six years on Wearside, forming a formidable partnership with Niall Quinn, before joining Southampton.

The Saints were relegated in 2005 and Phillips joined Aston Villa, where an injury hit campaign limited his opportunities and he joined Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion the following campaign.

Phillips has since played for Birmingham, Blackpool and currently Crystal Palace as he has passed the 600-appearance mark in a career spanning over 19 years.