Forgotten man Herd still seeking Socceroos solace

On the day that Ange Postecoglou unveiled his latest Australia squad, forgotten Socceroos utility Chris Herd trudged out to training on a freezing morning in England still dreaming of breaking back into the national team.

Chris Herd

Chris Herd in action during a 2015 Australia training session Source: Getty Images

Herd, now 27, was greeted as a Socceroos star in the making when burst into Aston Villa's first team four and a half years ago as one of a disappearing breed of Australians playing in the Premier League.

The future bristled with promise for the Perth-raised utility player, but fast forward to 2016 and it's been a tale of injuries, angst and unfulfilled expectations for Herd who has just three caps to his name.

Herd is now with struggling English League One side Gillingham, after signing and then extricating himself from a deal with Perth Glory for family reasons.

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But he is feeling recharged and reinvigorated and insists his best years could be yet to come.

While he acknowledges that valuable time has passed him by due to several long term absences which saw him make 19 Premier League appearances for Villa in 2011-2012, nine the season after, then two, then zero before signing for Chesterfield for a season.



"I am feeling fit and strong again and I am at a good club with a good manager and good players," said Herd, whose sixth league appearance last weekend saw him replaced at half-time after suffering a minor injury in the 2-1 loss to Fleetwood Town.

"I played 25 games last year (at Chesterfield) and I am just trying to build on that.

"I am trying not to think too far ahead and just put everything I can into my club form.

"I want to be consistent week to week, after a few years when I was playing very little football, and hopefully that can get me noticed again (by the national team).

"For me, it's just about doing all the right things and putting in the performances."

Sadly, up to this point, Herd, who can play in midfield, at right-back or centre-back, is best remembered for the amount of squads he had to pull out of, rather than any of his on-field exploits for the Socceroos.



But his energy, zest, versatility and combative qualities could yet be of use to Postecoglou if he can conjure the consistency he craves.

Herd said he's enjoying his football after a "stop-start" season at Chesterfield and believes there is plenty more to come from him on his mission of reinvention.

"I have plenty of goals and the drive to do well," he said.

"I think there are a lot of good years still to come and I have learned a lot and matured as a player, and have a lot still to offer."

Renowned for a commitment and tackling style which sometimes left him exposed to high impact injuries, Herd said he is now wiser and smarter.



"As I get older and more experienced I have adapted a maybe changed my game a little bit," Herd said.

"I am still fully committed, but it's about those split second decisions you make and I want to make sure I stay on the pitch and get as few injuries as possible.

"I am a bit smarter and more clever now about how I approach everything. I think I am a lot calmer now also.

"Most of my injuries were from impact ... It was never a case of having breakdowns of muscles.

"They all came from impacts. I probably approach the game in a different way, and I have a bit more know-how."


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4 min read
Published 2 November 2016 at 9:42pm
By Dave Lewis