After making 38 appearances last season - following on directly from his start in the Champions League final - it looked like Ryan Bertrand had finally "made it." As I understand it, this is something good and important, to "make it" in life. I'm told people don't look at you with those sad eyes of disappointment anymore. You know the ones with a lifetime of failed hopes and perhaps even a tinge of pity behind them.
Plus, things tend to happen when you "make it." Things such as regular playing time at Chelsea Football Club or with the England national football team. Sounds glorious, no? And with just an aging, declining Ashley Cole ahead of him at club and country, he seemed to have the inside track in a battle for first-choice left back at Chelsea and was a future shoo-in for England as Leighton Baines's backup. But then Mourinho dropped a Cesar Azpilicueta-sized wrecking ball into Bertrand's plans.
"I have always looked for progression in my career."
"Since I was back at Chelsea after being on loan for so long I have gone from 15 games to 20 odd to 30 odd. I couldn't see that progression again this season."
"...so I thought it's in my hands now, let me take it into my own hands and get out on loan and start to play my football again."
-Ryan Bertrand; source: ITV
And as we've seen with many other transfers, World Cup hopes factored heavily into the decision.
"Villa is a fantastic club. Playing week in and week out here, I see no reason why I can't be a rival to Ashley."
"I see no reason why I can't be considered for England again, I've had a taste of it against Italy and Ukraine in 2012 and felt more than comfortable at that level. It's as close as it's ever been for who plays left-back. As long as my form is good and I play enough games then you will always be in the hat."
"Is Ashley a rival? Possibly. We've got a good relationship on and off the pitch but I see no reason why I can't be his rival for England."
-Ryan Bertrand; source: Sky Sports
As far as the future beyond the summer, Bertrand is not ready to make a call one way or another. But he's certainly not ruling a permanent switch.
"I'm just here to concentrate on each game as it comes and to get back playing regularly. I'll leave all that stuff until the end of the season. You can't rule anything out. It's important, first and foremost, that my performances are good enough."
"It was a frustrating start to the season so it was a bit of a release to get on the grass again. I've settled in quite easily. It's fortunate, to be fair, because I know half the team through England at younger ages. It has been good."
"It was easy, a no-brainer. I've personally been impressed with Villa in recent years whenever I have seen them. They like to play, the manager is really positive, it is a club with a great history. It's great to be involved in a derby for my first home game.''
-Ryan Bertrand; source: Birmingham Mail