Bannan playing for Scotland in March 2011
|Full name||Barry Bannan|
|Date of birth||1 December 1989|
|Place of birth||Airdrie, Scotland|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Central Midfielder|
|Current club||Crystal Palace|
|2009||→ Derby County (loan)||10||(1)|
|2009–2010||→ Blackpool (loan)||20||(1)|
|2011||→ Leeds United (loan)||7||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 7 December 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Born in Airdrie, Bannan began playing at local youth team Lenzie Youth Club. In 1999, as a nine-year-old ball boy for Albion Rovers, he came to prominence during a match against Montrose, when after fetching the ball, he began juggling it and then flicked it over the head of a Montrose player running towards him. The bit of skill sent the crowd wild and Albion Rovers chairman Davie Shanks was impressed, saying "He's the best player out there". Bannan later joined Celtic's youth team in 2002, until he was fourteen when he chose to accept a trial offer from Aston Villa. Whilst on trial at the Academy of the English club, he took part in the Ergenzingen Tournament in Germany. The Villa youth outfit won the tournament courtesy of a 1–0 final victory over FSV Mainz, with Bannan being named player of the tournament. Shortly after, the young Scot was offered a two-year contract with the club.
In the 2007–08 season, he scored 13 goals in 32 matches for Villa's' academy team as they won the Premier Academy league title, as well as playing for the reserve team as they won the Premier Reserve League South. Following the season's end he signed a two-year professional contract with the club.
In November 2008, Bannan was named "Young Player of the Month" by local radio station BBC WM, the first Villa player to win the award twice. His first team debut came on 17 December, as a substitute in a 1–3 UEFA Cup group stage defeat to German side Hamburger SV at the Volksparkstadion, and made his full début in the same competition's Round of 32, a 0–2 defeat away to Russian Premier League side CSKA Moscow on 26 February 2009.
Derby County (loan)
Bannan joined Championship side Derby County on loan for one month in March 2009. He scored on his Rams debut, his first competitive league goal, in a 2–4 defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane and his loan was extended to the end of the season, making a total of ten appearances and scoring once. Bannan was able to return to the Aston Villa reserve side that were champions of the Premier Reserve League South, and played in their 3–1 win over Premier Reserve League North winners Sunderland reserves in the play-off final.
In November 2009, Bannan joined Championship side Blackpool on loan, making his debut as an 87th-minute substitute in the 1–1 West Lancashire derby with Preston North End at Bloomfield Road. His full début came in a 3–0 win away to Middlesbrough on 8 December. In January 2010 the loan was extended to the end of the season, and two days later Bannan scored his first goal for the club, with a 30-yard lob, in a 1–1 draw away to Coventry City.
In February 2010, Bannan was one of three players, along with Ishmel Demontagnac and Neal Eardley, disciplined by Ian Holloway, when they were seen out at a nightclub two days previously in Blackpool following the home defeat to Leicester City. Bannan came on for the final two minutes at Wembley as Blackpool won the Championship play-off final against Cardiff City and secured promotion to the Premier League.
First-team breakthrough at Aston Villa
Bannan returned to Villa for the 2010–11 season, and made his Premier League debut on the opening day of the season, coming on as an 89th minute substitute against West Ham United. He scored his first goal for Villa in a Europa league qualifier against Rapid Vienna. On 6 November, Bannan was handed his first start of the season against Fulham and started the following two games against Blackpool and Manchester United. He was given a run of games in the first team by manager Gérard Houllier due to the absence of many first-team players through injury. Bannan scored his first goal in the Premier League for Villa with a 57th minute penalty against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on 25 September 2011.
On 25 November 2011, Bannan was given an 18 month driving ban after crashing his car and fleeing the scene on the M1 motorway whilst being almost twice over the legal drink-drive limit. Towards the end of the 2012–13 season, Bannan found his first team opportunities limited and a move away from the club looked increasingly likely. On 26 July 2013, Blackburn Rovers were reported to have tabled a bid of £750,000 to sign Bannan from Villa. However the move failed to materialise as terms could not be agreed with Bannan's representatives.
Leeds United (loan)
On 7 March 2011, Bannan joined Leeds United on loan until the end of the 2010–11 season. Bannan made his Leeds debut as a second half substitute against Preston North End. He made his home debut at Elland Road on 12 March as a second half substitute against Ipswich Town. Bannan was recalled from his loan spell at Leeds on 28 April 2011.
- As of 7 December 2013
|Derby County (loan)||2008–09||10||1||-||-||-||10||1|
|Leeds United (loan)||2010–11||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||7||0|
Bannan played for the Scotland under-21 team in their first five games of the 2011 UEFA Under-21 qualification campaign. He made his début in a 1–0 victory over Albania on 28 March 2009. On 15 November 2009 he helped the under-21s beat Azerbaijan 4–0 at the Tofik Bakhramov Stadium in Baku. Bannan scored his first goal for the under 21s in a win against Austria that earned qualification for the play-offs.
He also has one B cap, earned in a 3–0 win over Northern Ireland B on 6 May 2009. On 11 November 2010, Bannan received his first call up to the senior squad for the friendly against Faroe Islands.
Bannan made his debut for the Scotland national team against Faroe Islands on 16 November 2010. Bannan's performance prompted manager Craig Levein to call him a future star of Scottish football. Bannan was then called up to the Scotland squad to face Brazil in March 2011. Bannan made his first competitive start for Scotland in Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania in September 2011. Bannan was named man-of-the-match and got a standing ovation from the Hampden Park crowd after setting up the winning goal.
Bannan is primarily a central midfielder but also can play as a winger. He is particularly useful with his left foot.  Bannan has skill, vision and good passing ability. It is these attributes that led to Aston Villa manager Gérard Houllier likening him to Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andrés Iniesta. Houllier had only been in charge of Villa for a few weeks before saying "He is an intelligent player, he can read the game well and adapt well. I don’t think Xavi and Iniesta, who are outstanding players, are of huge size. They are intelligent, they have the skill, they have the desire – young Barry has all of that." Ian Holloway, who Bannan played under during his time at Blackpool, described him as "a beautiful footballer, absolutely lovely to watch".
Bannan's height and playing style have also led to Scotland team-mate Darren Fletcher comparing him to the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Paul Scholes. The Manchester United midfielder stated that Bannan "is in the mould of the best midfielders in the world", and said "I'm talking about Xavi, Iniesta and Paul Scholes". John Mullen, a football coach that taught Bannan as a youngster at St. Margaret's High School, said in 2010 that he was unsurprised at the success of the midfielder. He claimed that Bannan "had all the attributes you could ask for in a player", was "always motivated" and "gave a lot to the team".
In December 2010, Houllier was again full of praise for him. He said "Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Pedro. You can watch and wonder if they are playing in the youth team sometimes. They have fast technique and young Barry has all of that." Houllier then defended Bannan's size, and insisted it won't hold him back. Houllier said "The Premier League has got more physical but it is not about a matter of size. Obviously you need size in some positions but it's also a matter of commitment and physical commitment. Barry is competitive."
By the time he had reached the age of seven, Bannan had undergone four operations. The first was for a hernia; two more followed for a blocked tube into his kidney; and the fourth was for the removal of his appendix.
- Aston Villa
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barry Bannan.|
- Barry Bannan career stats at Soccerbase
- Barry Bannan profile Aston Villa FC
- Barry Bannan at scottishfa.co.uk