Aston Villa football club is missing a man. He was, however, seen in a Danish kit on Friday night. The now twenty-two-year-old Jores Okore was signed from Nordsjaelland back in the summer of 2013. Since then Aston Villa sides have leaked goals, faced relegation, seen Lerner put Aston Villa Football Club up for sale and apparently take the club off the market again. In this time, Okore has played three games, all before his injuries.
The Villans wanted to seal the leaks at the club, so they signed Senderos – a move that was frowned upon by 90% of the Villa Park faithful. Okore had a decent pre-season. Nobody expected Senderos and Vlaar to form a solid partnership at the heart of the Villa side. But they did. Senderos got injured. Baker came in and proved himself. He is a player reborn. Then Vlaar got injured. What did Lambert do? He brought the calamitous Clark back. Nobody knows the reason why Clark has played – but he has. Okore remains missing.
When quizzed by journalists as to why Okore has not played for the Villa first team, Lambert has always said, “He is not Premier League ready.” How can anyone believe this? The Danish man left Nordsjaelland on the back of playing for the first team in the Champions League against teams like Chelsea, when he defended admirably, leading to talk of Chelsea snapping him up. Is Lambert also blind? Okore is now Denmark’s Under 21 captain. Denmark won Euro 1992. The Danes are hardly footballing minnows; they have a decent crop of players. Yet still Lambert does not believe that Okore is ready and Clark is preferred to the young Dane. When Benteke turned up, nobody thought he was Premier League ready but he started and has not looked back since, apart from a red card and a few injuries…
It is daft to leave a player with so much potential on the sidelines. He is twenty-two and if he is genuinely not ready for action the club should loan him out rather than leaving him to wallow in the development squad. He will not gain much from playing in that setting. An understanding of the game and partnerships are vital as a centre back. As a captain, he can lead the defence correctly. Let Okore and Senderos be the rocks. Let Okore show that he really is made of concrete. Let Vlaar leave. The team is capable of coping: Vlaar is injury prone and has not shown any loyalty by penning a new deal as he seemingly lives in hope of joining his Dutch compatriot Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford.
If Vlaar goes, I believe Okore is ready to step up. He was prepared to do so a long time ago. Nobody knows why Lambert is so tactically inept. Nobody ever will. It is obvious that he needs to play Okore, a player Lerner dished out decent money for. Okore has impressed when given time. He cannot have been appointed captain of his national side on a whim. Against Southampton, Okore should start. He can keep Pelle, Long and Mane quiet and prove he is better than Vlaar and up to the job.