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Barry Bannan
Barry Bannan.jpg
Bannan playing for Scotland in 2011
Personal information
Full name Barry Ryan Bannan
Date of birth (1989-12-01) 1 December 1989 (age 34)
Place of birth Airdrie, Scotland
Height 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current club Sheffield Wednesday
Number 10
Youth career
2002–2004 Celtic
2004–2008 Aston Villa
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2008–2013 Aston Villa 64 (1)
2009 Derby County (loan) 10 (1)
2009–2010 Blackpool (loan) 20 (1)
2011 Leeds United (loan) 7 (0)
2013–2015 Crystal Palace 22 (1)
2015 Bolton Wanderers (loan) 16 (0)
2015– Sheffield Wednesday 300 (25)
National team
2009–2010 Scotland U21 10 (1)
2009 Scotland B 1 (0)
2010–2017 Scotland 27 (0)
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:04, 12 November 2022 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Barry Ryan Bannan (born 1 December 1989) is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for EFL League One club Sheffield Wednesday.

Bannan began his career at Celtic before making his senior debut in 2008 for Aston Villa, and was loaned to Derby County, Blackpool and Leeds United in the Championship. In 2013, he signed for Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee, and after a brief loan to Bolton Wanderers, moved on to Sheffield Wednesday. A full international since 2010, Bannan has earned 27 caps for Scotland.

Club career

Early years

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".

Bannan later joined Celtic Boys Club in 2002, until he was fourteen when he chose to accept a trial offer from Aston Villa. While 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.

Aston Villa

Early years

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

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. His first team debut came on 17 December, as a 61st-minute substitute for Craig Gardner in a 1–3 UEFA Cup group stage defeat to German side Hamburger SV at the Volksparkstadion, 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.


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

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

His full debut 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, 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.

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. 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.

Later years

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. 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. Bannan made his Leeds debut as a second-half substitute against Preston North End. 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.

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

Crystal Palace

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. Bannan's first Palace goal in the Premier League was on 23 November, the only goal in a 0–1 away win at Hull City.

On 2 February 2015, transfer deadline day, Bannan joined 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. In total, he made sixteen appearances while at the Macron Stadium.

Sheffield Wednesday

On 31 August 2015, Bannan signed a one-year deal with Sheffield Wednesday for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut for the Owls on 12 September, starting in a 3–1 defeat at Burnley. He scored his first goal for Wednesday on 12 December 2015, the equaliser as they earned a 2–2 draw away to Cardiff City.

The following 9 January, he opened a 2–1 win over Fulham in the third round of the FA Cup, scoring a 25-yard half volley. Five days later, he was given a new three-and-a-half-year contract. In April, he was listed in the Championship's PFA Team of the Year.

At the start of the 2020/2021 season, Bannan was made captain of Wednesday, replacing Tom Lees. In February 2021, it was revealed that a new contract had been agreed 'in principal' for him to extend his stay at the club and this would be confirmed by the club, with him signing a contract until the summer of 2023. He would be voted the club's player of the season for the 2020-21 campaign, starting every game of the season.

In the 2021–22 season Bannan would be nominated for the February EFL League One Player of the Month award by the EFL, as he either scored or assisted a goal in five of Wednesday's six fixtures. The following month of March he would score three more goals and add two more assists for the season, winning the club's player of the month and the League One Player of the Month after being nominated for the second successive month by the EFL. A fantastic season in League One would see Bannan nominated for the Sky Bet League One Player of the Season, be included into the Team of the Season and win the EFL Goal of the Season for his strike against MK Dons. Following the end of the season, he would win the club's Player of the Season award, enjoying a terrific campaign with 49 appearances in all competitions, contributing nine goals and 12 assists.

The following 2022–23 season, he would win the clubs player of the month and be nominated for the EFL October player of the month after two goals and two assists.

International career

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

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

Bannan made his debut for the Scotland national team against Faroe Islands on 16 November 2010. Bannan's performance prompted manager Craig Levein to call him a future star of Scottish football.

Bannan was then called up to the Scotland squad to face Brazil in March 2011. Bannan made his first competitive start for Scotland in Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania in September 2011. He was named man-of-the-match and got a standing ovation from the Hampden Park crowd after setting up the winning goal.

Playing style

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

Aston Villa manager Gérard Houllier likened Bannan to Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, 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".

Bannan's height and playing style have also led to Scotland teammate Darren Fletcher comparing him to the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Paul Scholes. The former 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".

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.

Personal life

Bannan was born in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, to James and Kathleen Bannan, who now live in Coatbridge. 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.

Bannan supports his former team, Celtic and his boyhood hero is midfielder Stiliyan Petrov, with whom he played at Aston Villa.

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Aston Villa 2008–09 Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 0
2009–10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010–11 12 0 3 0 3 0 1 1 19 1
2011–12 28 1 2 0 2 0 32 1
2012–13 24 0 2 0 4 0 30 0
Total 64 1 7 0 9 0 3 1 83 2
Derby County (loan) 2008–09 Championship 10 1 10 1
Blackpool (loan) 2009–10 Championship 20 1 2 0 22 1
Leeds United (loan) 2010–11 Championship 7 0 7 0
Crystal Palace 2013–14 Premier League 15 1 2 0 0 0 17 1
2014–15 7 0 1 0 2 0 10 0
Total 22 1 3 0 2 0 0 0 27 1
Bolton Wanderers (loan) 2014–15 Championship 16 0 16 0
Sheffield Wednesday 2015–16 Championship 35 2 1 1 2 0 3 0 41 3
2016–17 43 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 46 1
2017–18 29 0 0 0 2 1 31 1
2018–19 41 5 3 0 1 0 45 5
2019–20 44 2 1 0 1 0 46 2
2020–21 46 2 2 0 1 0 49 2
2021–22 League One 45 9 2 0 1 0 3 0 51 9
2022–23 17 4 0 0 1 0 1 0 19 4
Total 300 25 10 1 9 1 9 0 328 27
Career total 439 29 20 1 20 1 14 1 493 32


Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Scotland 2010 1 0
2011 8 0
2012 2 0
2013 5 0
2014 3 0
2015 1 0
2016 4 0
2017 3 0
Total 27 0



  • Football League Championship play-offs: 2010


  • PFA Team of the Year: 2015–16 Championship
  • LeanBACK champion February 2021
  • Sheffield Wednesday Player of the Year: 2020–21
  • SWFC Community Player of the Year: 2020–21
  • EFL League One Player of the Month: March 2022
  • EFL Goal of the Season: 2021–22
  • EFL League One Team of the Year: 2021–22

See also

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