26-year-old at number 10? Three ways Aston Villa can line up in midfield after Whelan capture

Diamond – Jedinak, Lansbury, Whelan, Grealish

Whelan’s ability to keep the ball under pressure allows him to play in the thick of it rather than having to be reserved as a holding midfielder, as some players do at his age.

That could see Bruce go more defensive, and incorporate Australia international Mile Jedinak at the base of a four-man diamond.

Whelan would be used in the engine room alongside Lansbury, while academy product Jack Grealish’s creativity in the final third would be given free reign thanks to the protection offered by his three midfield teammates.