Aston Villa supporters rightly want to forget their recent season in the EFL.
Between 2016 and 2019, Villa were a Sky Bet Championship team, sucked into the tough league for three seasons.
After finishing 13th in 2016/17, Villa played play-offs between the teams in subsequent seasons. Middlesbrough ended their promotion dreams in 2017/18 but Dean Smith returned them to the Premier League the following year with a 2-1 win over Derby County at Wembley.
Looking at the squad that went up under Smith, it was clear to see the investment that had gone into promotion: Tyrone Mings, John McGinn, Tammy Abraham and most importantly retaining Jack Grealish.
One man who played for Villa during their three seasons in the EFL was Birkir Bjarnason. In that 2018/19 season, he played 17 of his 54 games in a Villa shirt.
Despite his limited impact in terms of appearances, he scored two very important goals in a 3-2 win over Wigan Athletic and a 1-1 draw with Bristol City. With Villa just three points off Middlesbrough in seventh place at the end of the season, their importance is highlighted.
Apart from a 2-1 loss against Norwich City after that, Bjarnason did not feature for Villa again.
Brescia was the destination of the Icelandic national team and Bjarnason played 13 games for the Italian club.
Bjarnason is currently plying his trade in Turkey for Super Lig side Adana Demirspor.
The 2021/22 campaign saw the 34-year-old play 33 times in the league. He scored five goals and assisted in that time, featured in the Turkish Cup and scored a goal.
On the international stage, Bjarnason is still playing for Iceland and has been named in the latest group that faces Venezuela and Albania. He will look to add to his 110 caps next week.
👇 Men’s group A for two games in September.
🇮🇸 Iceland will face Venezuela in a friendly match on September 22 and Albania in their last match in the UEFA Nations League on September 27 in Tirana, Albania.
— The Football Association (@footballiceland) September 16, 2022
Bjarnason is therefore still playing at a very competitive level after leaving Villa. It’s not quite at the level that Villa is at now, but it’s still international football with Iceland and top football in Turkey.
Aston Villa quiz: Does Villa Park have more or less capacity than these 18 pitches?