That time of the year is once again upon us. Players and staff have returned from their well deserved holidays to begin pre-season ahead of the new campaign. For the first time since 2015, Aston Villa head into pre-season preparing for a big challenge in the Premier League.
Aston Villa will kick-off their pre-season campaign with a trip to the US, to take on Minnesota United on the 18th July.
We then have our traditional trip to Walsall at Bescott Stadium, Shrewsbury Town and Charlton. Our pre-season fixtures will finish with a small trip to Germany to take on RB Leipzig.
There are plenty of opportunities here for manager Dean Smith to allow new boys like Wesley and Jota to gel. It will allow them to understand what is expected of them and understand their new teammates.
Record signing (and first Brazilian to play for Villa), Wesley, is going to have to work with the wingers and the attacking midfielders a lot over the pre-season in order to score maximum goals.
He will also need to learn which runs are best to make and which areas to pass into in order to bring out the best in Jack Grealish and John McGinn. I’m hopeful that Wesley will come good in his first season and score some vital goals. It is no surprise given his stature that he is good in the air. But he is also said to bring work-rate and pace which will enable him to cause opposition defenders problems. After all, Deano wouldn’t have splashed out £22million without doing his homework.
Smith has unfinished business in the transfer market, however. It is thought that Villa hopes to seal deals for both Tyrone Mings and Kalvin Phillips. Both would improve our starting eleven in my eyes.
Mings is a no brainer following his performances in a Villa shirt last season. Judging by what I have seen of Phillips and how much Leeds fans love him, he should prove to be a decent addition should we get the deal over the line. He did cause us problems at Elland Road in the final away game last season and isn’t afraid to get stuck in. Ask Mr Grealish!
There is still a long way to go before the season kicks off at the New White Hart Lane, but I remain confident that we will put up a fight next season and not let anyone push us over. All we can ask is to go out and leave 110% on the pitch, and with Dean Smith, the effort is guaranteed.