Wednesday, 29 June 2011

New Signing Profile - Stephen O'Halloran

To this viewer this signing presents United's most intriguing and risky of the summer - the added competition at left back and centre back is to be welcomed but the injury record is a concern. With a friendship group almost universally culled from the premium young talent of Solihull I've long been aware of the reputation of the Villa academy which has produced the likes of Agbonlahor, Albrighton, Clark, Bannan and, of course, Luke Moore. O'Halloran was touted as Villa and Ireland's next great left back by Steve Staunton (a man who knows a little about that role) a few years ago, his seemingly unstoppable march only stopped by a catalogue of setbacks. The next Frank Simek or another, unfortunate, Sean McDaid? Ross Mackiewicz, Villa fan and scribe for Soccerlens amongst others and Coventry mad Neil Allison, proprietor of the Sky Blues blog offer the inside track...

A Claret and Blue View

"Stephen was highly regarded at Villa during his time in the youth set-up. He was sent to Leeds United on loan in 2008 but suffered cruciate ligament damage to his knee during the warm up against Swindon Town. Unfortunately that more or less ended his prospects at the club and he has been plagued by injury ever since - prior to which he was on the verge of breaking into the first team fold.

He has been terribly unlucky but had he remained injury free, there is no doubt he could have been a Villa regular. He is highly thought of by the Irish national team but again, injuries have hampered his progression with them.

In regards to his attributes, Stephen is very aware of his tasks in hand. He has good positional awareness and does his utmost to track/mark his man. He is a little suspect when opposed to players with pace. He isn’t exactly the quickest of players and I suspect the injuries to his knees have done him no favours in that regard. Nevertheless he is a very intelligent defender who has so much potential. He is still a young man and if he can remain injury free, there is absolutely no reason why he cannot become an integral figure with Carlisle."

A Sky Blue View

"It’s fair to say Coventry fans didn’t get to see the Stephen O’Halloran that was so highly recommended when he arrived. Whether that was down to ability or circumstance is debatable. What has to be acknowledged is he mainly figured during the last (woeful) months of Aidy Boothroyd’s reign, in a period when he looked desperately short of fitness, playing with players short on confidence. Never a good combination, and unfortunately, this does have a bearing on our view of his time here.

His most notable appearance was in a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. It was one of the Sky Blues’ most impressive performances of the season, and a big talking point afterwards was the new lad O’Halloran, and just how solid he looked. He made some mistakes, which were put down to fitness, but he had a look of quality about him. We were all very keen. In many ways, he reminds me of another former Carlisle left back, Ian Harte. He doesn’t have the same ball striking quality, but his movement, positioning and the way he covers ground are all very similar. The left-back position clearly comes naturally to him.

So given how things went for the club as a whole last year, it’s more difficult than it often would be to give a definitive judgement. Providing he does something to address his fitness issues – a good pre-season ought to do the trick – there’s no reason he won’t be become a good player. He showed it in patches for City.

Just watch out for those tired legs."

An understandable mixed bag then given the injury issues but a smack of promise for sure. No doubt in my mind which words will prove most divisive in this article though - 'Ian Harte'!


  1. really good article buddy.. I rated him and his potential as a quality left back for quite some time as a Villa fan. I hope he does well, he deserves some good fortune. UTV chowden

  2. very accurate description. has been one of the most unluckiest players with three career threatening injuries. Has shown loads of character to come back from these injuries. Has the potential to still play for his country but needs a full season injury free and if he can do that this season then you have signed a quality player for nothing!

  3. Hi, tell the Grauniad to fix your link on

    Good luck for the season,