2009-10 Sunderland |
2010-11 Ipswich Town, Free |
2011-14 Plymouth Argyle, Free |
2014-17 Barnsley, £225k |
2016- Aston Villa, £3.15m, 150 (30) |
AT A GLANCE
Saturday, 2 February 1991
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Steve Bruce |
Dean Smith |
First Squad Appearance
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Final Squad Appearance
(5 ft 9 in) 1.80 m
2017-18 Play Off Finalists |
2018-19 Play Off Final Winners |
2019-20 League Cup Runners Up |
Player #905 for Aston Villa, Conor Hourihane has played as a midfielder for the club since 2016-17.
Hourihane was born in Cork, Ireland on 2 February 1991.
Villa had signed Hourihane on 26 January 2017 from Barnsley for a fee of £3,150,000.
Conor made his competitive debut for Villa at the age of 26 in the 3-0 away defeat to Brentford on Tuesday, 31 January 2017.
He went on to make 17 appearances, including 4 as a substitute in his debut season and scored his debut goal for the club in the 2-0 win over Bristol City on Tuesday, 28 February 2017.
Hourihane was a virtual ever present in the first team squad in the 2017-18 campaign - making 46 appearances including one as substitute as Villa went on to be losing finalists in the Football League Championship Play offs.
Hourihane scored 11 goals from midfield and provided 2 assists as he became an instrumental figure in the Villa team under Steve Bruce.
2018-19 saw a matured Jack Grealish and new signing John McGinn come into midfield contention and in a more creative environment, Hourihane made 35 starts and 11 substitute appearances as his goals - 10 - and assists - 10 - helped propel Villa to promotion to the Premier League.
In two and a half seasons, Hourihane had scored 22 goals and assisted 12 in 107 appearances - an excellent return and a crucial factor in Villa’s progress on and off the pitch.
Ahead of Villa’s 2019-20 Premier League campaign and the signing of Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba along with the talents of John McGinn and Grealish it was expected that Hourihane would have a lower profile role in the team however by the turn of the year, Hourihane had made his Premier League debut and scored his debut top flight goal.
Hourihane went on to make 32 appearances, including 11 as substitute, and scored 7 goals and created 6 assists during the eventful 2019-20 season.
2020-21 saw Hourihane mostly restricted to the substitutes bench as boss Dean Smith fields a settled team however never bet against Conor Hourihane.
By the end of 2020 Conor had made 3 Premier League starts and one substitute appearance after being an ever present in the squad.
Conor made his 150th appearance for Villa since joining the club in 2017 on 30 November 2020 away at West Ham United and at the end of 2020 was second only to Jack Grealish (201) in all time appearances for the club.
A special player happy to be the quiet hero. Villa are lucky to have him.
With a contract running until 2022 and having made just 3 Premier League starts by the turn of 2021, Conor began to become frustrated with a lack of first team action, as boss Dean Smith revealed:
“Conor has been to see me a number of times because he wants to be playing football games.”
“First and foremost I don’t want Conor to go anywhere on loan but Conor has asked if he can go out and get games.”
“So we have said as a football club we will look at it, he will look at it as well if there is a viable options for both the club and Conor we would probably allow him to go out on loan and play games.”
“But it would be reluctant because I like Conor as a person, as a player but I understand his frustrations at not playing.”
“He’s never happy when he’s not playing games and he’s intimated to me that he wants to go out and play games.”
“It would be a loan to the end of the season to get him back playing and get him back to us.”
Conor left for Championship side Swansea City on loan on 20th January 2021 until the end of the 2020-21 campaign having made 150 appearances for Villa and scoring 30 goals since joining in January 2017.
Hourihane explained “This the first time in my career where I’ve gone out on loan. I knew it was probably the right thing for me. I’ve got two daughters, a partner, and my second daughter is 7-8 weeks old. It’s about two-and-half hours away [from home] and we’re in lockdown.
“But for me to get into the best place for the summer, I knew I had to get out on loan.
“It’s not easy [leaving the family] and having a new born makes it tougher.”
“Time will tell, I’m not sure. [About a new Villa contract and extended stay]. I’m not really thinking too far ahead. I know this is the right thing for me - playing, playing well.
“Let’s see what happens over the coming months. Villa is a fantastic club. I’ve been there four years – it’s such a fantastic club, great setup, huge football club – but they are moving on as well a little bit and going to a level where, maybe, the club feels is past my level.
“That’s their opinion so we’ll just see what happens come the summer.”
Hourihane pinpointed the exact moment when he knew his Villa game-time was limited. “Listen, I’m always honest and it was when we played Wolves away. Ross [Barkley] was injured and the gaffer played Jacob Ramsey ahead of me, the young lad from the academy which I was very disappointed with. That was probably the moment where I thought, ‘I’m going to struggle here a little bit moving forward’.
“Ever since then I haven’t played at all with Jacob in front of me. Listen, Jacob’s a very good player. A very young player with a lot of talent but I thought it was a harsh decision on myself at the time. The gaffer actually came out afterwards and said it was probably harsh to leave me out. The lads went onto win the game so his decision was probably justified but that was the trigger for me to think I might be in a little bit of trouble here.”
“In my head a little bit I was hoping there was a club in the Premier League to come along but it wasn’t the case. It’s tough in the Premier League because you can only have two Premier League loans in any squad. A lot of the Premier League teams have two loans already so it’s not easy to get a Premier League move in January. That was a factor why Premier League clubs didn’t come calling.
“Villa were fantastic with me, though, they understood my frustrations and have added value to my career and the best thing for me to do was to go and showcase myself again and add value to myself come the summer time. They were brilliant with me to let it all happen.”
”I could have taken the easy option and sat around at Villa until the end of the season and collect my money, but that’s just not the type of guy I am. It’s not the character I am and it doesn’t sit well with me.
“When I wasn’t getting the game-time and was kind of told by the club that I wouldn’t play as much as I’d like, it was definitely something I wanted to try and do – to get out and play until the end of the season.
“It was probably one of the most frustrating [periods] I’ve had for a long time in my career, if I’m being honest. I’ve been very fortunate in my career in terms of playing regularly for the last six or seven years, so it’s kind of the first period I’ve had where I’ve had maybe two months without playing.
“I found it difficult, I’m not going to lie about that. I wanted to play, I was itching to play. Whenever I’ve played in the Premier League I’ve felt that I’ve done OK and rose to the level, so I felt a little bit hard done by from that point of view.
“The club brought in some very good players and spent a lot of money. Some clubs aren’t in a great position financially but Villa definitely aren’t one of those clubs. The owners are very wealthy, they can spend a lot of money and they have done that on players.
“Ross [Barkley] obviously came into the central midfield area, a fantastic player with huge attributes to be a top-quality player – he has been and will be moving forward.
“It’s going to be tough to stay at Villa and stay at that level but it’s something I’ll keep fighting for. Hopefully this loan period can be a positive step from that point of view.”
“The players that they bring in, it’s a pleasure to play with a lot of them, so we’ll see what happens come the summer.
“First and foremost, let’s make this loan period a successful one and then go back and re-evaluate.”
For his part Dean Smith reflected “Personally, I’d have liked Conor to stay but Conor’s been to see me a few times and intimated that he wants to play football games. That’s one of the reasons why I love Conor so much, he’s never happy when he’s not playing games.”