Aston Villa bought young right-back James Bree 10 months ago from fellow Championship club Barnsley but unfortunately for him, he has seen very little game time in terms of first-team football. Despite only making 1 league start this season there has been plenty of opportunities where Steve Bruce could’ve started Bree and maybe should have.
In this article, I’m going to have a look at how the 20-year-old plays and why Bruce hasn’t selected him very often during his spell with Aston Villa.
STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES AND PLAYING STYLE.
These days it is important for fullbacks to get up and down the wings and be one of the main players orchestrating attacks. Unfortunately, Bree is not great technically and is not yet good enough to fulfil the role of a flying wingback who bombs down the wing whenever possible, like Ahmed Elmohamady is currently doing now for us. Also unlike Elmo, Bree is unable to deliver a pinpoint cross into the box and prefers to play short passes on the floor into midfield or to the wing.
Despite his lack of technical ability, Bree always gives his all every game and doesn’t want to let the fans and his team down. Another strong point of his game is his aerial ability. The right-back is taller than most in his position standing at exactly 6 foot tall. He wins the majority of headers which come his way when he is up against a winger on his side.
Bree is good at consistently intercepting passes and can read the game very well considering he is still near the start of his footballing career, this is very important heading into the future because he is already showing signs of becoming a top English defender with his excellent football brain.
I am excited to see his technique develop and once this happens I am confident that he can become a consistent starter amongst the Villa squad if he is prepared to sit tight and bide his time.
WHY HASN’T HE BEEN PLAYING?
Bree hasn’t picked up any injuries since joining Villa so it comes as a surprise that manager Bruce hasn’t picked him to start in more games than he has.
The promising defender was linked with various top Premier League clubs in January such as Man City and Chelsea but opted for a move to B6 where I’d imagine he was thinking he would get consistent starts, something he has not received.
It seems weird that such a promising prospect who was on Man City and Chelsea’s radar has had limited game time down in the Championship. Maybe he now wishes he moved to one of the Prem giants.
What seems even weirder for me is the fact that there have been a few rumours that four of the first team squad are wanted to be sold by Bruce to bring in extra funds to get away from the troubles of Financial Fair Play. Bree is one who has been mentioned.
If there was any truth in that story then I find it shocking that a player that has had very little game time under the manager that decided to buy him in the first place is already on the list to be sold, don’t you think?
I see the reasoning in Lansbury and Hogan being 2 other of these rumoured ‘Fundraisers’ for the club, as they have both had long runs in the team and have failed to impress but for Bree, it is a completely different story. He has had next to no games where he has started on the pitch in the league, and it would be very unfair to get rid of him already.
There would be nothing wrong with looking to loan out the former Barnsley man if he requires regular first-team football. He had a taste of it as his former club so you can’t blame him but I wouldn’t want to lose a player who has plenty of potential just because he can’t fit in the side at this moment in time.
Who knows what Bruce has up his sleeve? Maybe with the recent defeat, he could just get his opportunity but I personally doubt it will happen, just yet anyway.