With Okore scheduled to return from injury next month for the remainder of the season, I believe his services are set to play a huge role in the success of the squad, especially during the next campaign.
Okore looked promising in pre-season, showing that his power and ability to read the game can bring a very welcome – and much needed – breath of fresh air to the the Villa defence. The Dane looked comfortable and unfazed – abilities which current and past Villa defenders lack/have lacked.
However, when Okore suffered a cruciate ligament injury to his knee which subsequently ruled him out for the rest of the season, there was massive disappointment with all connected to Villa, in particularly because the squad has struggled within the centre-half department, meaning that the squad now only has three natural central defenders.
This season, academy graduates Clark and Baker have again struggled to offer consistent performances, something which is now happening regularly.
Ron Vlaar has been superb so far this season. It is clear that the Dutchman brings the experience that is needed to win games, does not have many lapses in concentration and can assist the centre-half playing alongside him, all of which contributes to the defence playing without anxiety or being rash.
When Okore is fully fit and up to pace, the side will inherit a much more composed approach, losing the ineffective and frustrating hoofed clearances both Baker and Clark are guilty of more often than spectators welcome.
Okore’s bullish characteristics will bring solidity and sturdiness to the back-line and I am confident that his presence will result in the Villans losing fewer games and sustaining a much more positive goal difference.
If Vlaar can remain fit and if Lambert can pull off a master-stroke and secure the permanent services of Ryan Bertrand from Chelsea, along with the presence of Okore, then I believe that next season we are destined to see a defence that has class and aptitude.