The devastating blow of losing John Terry has been a bitter pill to swallow and with the news that the Aston Villa captain will be missing for a sizeable period of the season, there has been a lot of debate as to who should fill the role.
For what it is worth, Mile Jedinak would be my immediate choice, but I have an affinity to another player who has been tipped for great things at Aston Villa and for England in the future.
Easah Suliman has been a part of the Aston Villa youth system since 2012. A local lad from Hall Green, he may be an unassuming choice to replace a man with the stature of John Terry, however, at exactly what point is it deemed acceptable to blood some of the younger players?
A quick look at Suliman’s achievements at youth level show he is obviously highly thought of. Having represented England at U16’s level up to the current U20’s, Suliman has played with the likes of Tom Davies (Everton), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) and Ben Brereton (Nottingham Forest), all of which have gone to feature for their respective first-team squads regularly.
There is a lot of caution around introducing a younger player into a squad and we all know what an unforgiving league the Championship is. But would it really be a disastrous option? Due to the negativity of certain swathes of supporters, some have all but written off this season now John Terry is out and the defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday only added to the social media doom and gloom.
Perhaps as Easah Suliman is a defender, it is seen as riskier than playing a midfielder or striker at his age, but when will he get the chance to learn and develop? We see a lot of players held back across English football for too long and some, unfortunately, end up dropping down the leagues.
For Suliman, he would be playing in his natural position which straight away is important to many of us. Playing alongside James Chester, Alan Hutton, Neil Taylor and the likes, who all bring experience into the fold would be a massive learning opportunity. We have tried the likes of Samba, Elphick and dare I say it, Richards and would Suliman really be any worse an option?
Being a local lad, we often show a rallied support to these players and with fixtures coming up that we really should be looking to win, it may be the perfect fit.
Suliman has always been seen as a future prospect and back in 2014, it was reported that Suliman was being watched by Bayern Munich who at the time was managed by none other than current Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola.
A look to players born between 1997-1999 produces a list that boasts some exciting prospects who have gone on to play for both Championship and Premier League teams. Most notably, players like Issy Brown (Promoted with Huddersfield), Josh Onomah (currently on loan to Aston Villa from Tottenham Hotspur) and Patrick Roberts (currently on loan to Celtic from Manchester City) are all within 12 months of the age of Easah Suliman.
Whether Steve Bruce will look to Suliman is yet to be seen and it may not be the answer but it could just be a stroke of genius.