Barry Bannan

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Barry Bannan
Barry Bannan.jpg
Bannan playing for Scotland in March 2011
Personal information
Full name Barry Bannan[1]
Date of birth (1989-12-01) 1 December 1989 (age 25)
Place of birth Airdrie, Scotland
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)[2]
Playing position Central Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Crystal Palace
Number 25
Youth career
2002–2004 Celtic
2004–2008 Aston Villa
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2008–2013 Aston Villa 61 (1)
2009 Derby County (loan) 10 (1)
2009–2010 Blackpool (loan) 20 (1)
2011 Leeds United (loan) 7 (0)
2013– Crystal Palace 18 (1)
2015 Bolton Wanderers (loan) 16 (0)
National team
2009–2010 Scotland U21 10 (1)
2010– Scotland 20 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:27, 04 May 2015 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 29 March 2015

Barry Bannan (born 1 December 1989) is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Crystal Palace and the Scotland national football team.


Early years[edit]

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".[3] Bannan later joined Celtic's youth team in 2002, until he was fourteen when he chose to accept a trial offer from Aston Villa.[4] 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.[4]

Aston Villa[edit]

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.[5] Following the season's end he signed a two-year professional contract with the club.[6]

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.[5] 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,[7] 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.[8]

Bannan joined Championship side Derby County on loan for one month in March 2009.[9] He scored on his Rams debut, his first competitive league goal, in a 2–4 defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane[10] 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.[11]

In November 2009, Bannan joined Championship side Blackpool on loan,[12] making his debut as an 87th-minute substitute in the 1–1 West Lancashire derby with Preston North End at Bloomfield Road.[13] 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,[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] 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.

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.[17] 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. On 7 March 2011, Bannan joined Leeds United on loan until the end of the 2010–11 season.[18] Bannan made his Leeds debut as a second-half substitute against Preston North End.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22] However the move failed to materialise as terms could not be agreed with Bannan's representatives.

Crystal Palace[edit]

Bannan signed a three-year contract with Crystal Palace on 2 September 2013, for an undisclosed fee. He was signed by Ian Holloway, with whom he had worked at Blackpool.[23] His first Palace goal in the Premier League was on 23 November, the only goal in a 1-0 away win at Hull City.[24]

Bolton Wanderers (loan)[edit]

On 2 February 2015, transfer deadline day, Bannan joined Football League Championship club Bolton Wanderers on loan for the duration of the season as part of the deal that saw Lee Chung-yong join Crystal Palace.[25] In total, he made sixteen appearances whilst at the Macron Stadium.

International career[edit]

Bannan played for the Scotland under-21 team in their first five games of the 2011 UEFA Under-21 qualification campaign.[26] He made his début in a 1–0 victory over Albania on 28 March 2009.[27] On 15 November 2009 he helped the under-21s beat Azerbaijan 4–0 at the Tofik Bakhramov Stadium in Baku.[28] Bannan scored his first goal for the under 21s in a win against Austria that earned qualification for the play-offs.[29]

He also has one B cap, earned in a 3–0 win over Northern Ireland B on 6 May 2009.[30] On 11 November 2010, Bannan received his first call up to the senior squad for the friendly against Faroe Islands.[30]

Bannan made his debut for the Scotland national team against Faroe Islands on 16 November 2010.[31] Bannan's performance prompted manager Craig Levein to call him a future star of Scottish football.[32] Bannan was then called up to the Scotland squad to face Brazil in March 2011.[33] 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.[34]

Playing style[edit]

Bannan is primarily a central midfielder but also can play as a winger. He is particularly useful with his left foot. [35] 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".[36]

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".[37][38] 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".[39]

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."

Bannan, however, claimed that former Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill had doubts over his ability due to his size.[40][41]


As of 4 January 2015[42]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Aston Villa 2008–09 - - - 2 0 2 0
Derby County (loan) 2008–09 10 1 - - - 10 1
Blackpool (loan) 2009–10 22 1 - - - 20 1
Aston Villa 2010–11 12 0 3 0 3 0 1 1 19 1
Leeds United (loan) 2010–11 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Aston Villa 2011–12 28 1 2 0 2 0 0 0 32 1
2012–13 24 0 2 0 4 0 0 0 30 0
Crystal Palace 2013–14 15 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 17 1
2014–15 3 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 6 0
Bolton Wanderers (loan) 2014–15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career Total 121 4 10 0 11 0 3 1 145 5

Personal life[edit]

Bannan was born in Airdrie, to James and Kathleen, who now live in Coatbridge.[43]

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.[43]

Bannan is a big Celtic supporter. His boyhood hero is midfielder Stiliyan Petrov, who he played with at Aston Villa.[44]

Former Aston Villa player Pat Heard, coincidentally, was Bannan's driving instructor.[45]


Aston Villa


  1. ^ "List of Temporary Transfers of Players under Written Contract Between 01/03/2011 and 31/03/2011" (PDF). The Football Association. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Premier League Player Profile". web page. Premier League. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Parks, Gordon (18 November 2010). "I remember Barry Bannan stealing the show as a ball boy at Albion Rovers, says ex-boss Jimmy Lindsay". Daily Record. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Broadfoot, Darryl (21 March 2009). "Celtic's indifference is Villa's gain as Bannan defies detractors". The Herald. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Barry is an inspiration – Bannan". BBC Sport. 13 November 2008. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2008. 
  6. ^ Howell, Bill (1 July 2008). "Barry Bannan signs two year deal with Aston Villa". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 17 December 2008. 
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  8. ^ "CSKA Moscow 2–0 Villa (agg 3–1)". BBC Sport. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
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  10. ^ "Blades march on against Derby – Henderson, Naughton and Beattie on target against Rams". Sky Sports. 14 March 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Aston Villa beat Sunderland 3–1 at Villa Park to win the Barclays Premier Reserve League play-off". FA Premier League. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
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  13. ^ "Blackpool 1–1 Preston". BBC Sport. 30 November 2009. Archived from the original on 1 December 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
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  15. ^ "Coventry 1–1 Blackpool". BBC Sport. 30 January 2010. Archived from the original on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
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  19. ^ "News | News | News | United End The Tuesday Drought!". Leeds United. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "News | News | News | United Held In Stalemate". Leeds United. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
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  22. ^ Mat Kendrick (2013-07-26). "Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan to make Blackburn Rovers switch". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  23. ^ "Transfer deadline day: Barry Bannan joins Crystal Palace". BBC Sport. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  24. ^ James Mcmath (23 November 2013). "Hull 0 Crystal Palace 1 - match report: Barry Bannan scores winner | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  25. ^ "Lee Chung-Yong signs for Crystal Palace". Bolton Wanderers. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
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  29. ^ "Scotland U21 2–1 Austria U21". BBC Sport. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  30. ^ a b "Barry Bannan – B Squad". Scottish Football Association. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  31. ^ McDaid, David (16 November 2010). "Scotland 3-0 Faroe Islands". BBC Sport (BBC). 
  32. ^ "Scotland have found a gem in Villa midfield star". 17 November 2010. Archived from the original on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
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  36. ^ Published on Mon Feb 1 07:47:18 GMT 2010. "Holloway hails Bannan strike - Sport". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  37. ^ "Barry Bannan can be Scotland's version of Xavi or Scholes, insists Darren Fletcher". The Daily Record. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  38. ^ "Fletcher compares Bannan to Xavi, Iniesta and Scholes | Football | STV Sport". 16 November 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  39. ^ "Bannan's school coach not surprised by young Scot's rise | Scotland | STV Sport". 16 November 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  40. ^ "Aston Villa: Barry Bannan reveals Martin O'Neill's obsession with his height - Aston Villa FC news - Aston Villa - Sport". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  41. ^ "Martin O'Neill said I would never make it in the big time, says Aston Villa's Barry Bannan". 18 November 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  42. ^ "Barry Bannan". Soccerbase. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  43. ^ a b "Family pride at Barry Bannan Scotland debut" - Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 24 November 2010
  44. ^ "Aston Villa: Barry Bannan thanks 'father figure' Stiliyan Petrov". Sunday Mercury. 5 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  45. ^ "Aston Villa: Barry Bannan is one hell of a player - Aston Villa FC news - Aston Villa - Sport". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 

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