Another match day brought another defeat for Aston Villa Football Club as the slide towards to the Championship picks up speed. The performance against Stoke City on Saturday illustrated every issue that the Villans have had this season with a lack of passion, quality, and balls clear to see. The players haven’t looked ‘horny’ all season, as Louis Van Gaal infamously said about his Manchester United ones.
The current side is not the side that will play next season in England’s second division. At least the Villa faithful hope not. The whole squad seems to stink. It is rotten to the core. The players are playing like they’re lower division players already and we can question whether they are even good enough to be in a Championship side.
The Villa youth system is one of the most highly rated in the country by the FA yet the lack of players progressing from the academy to the first team is appalling. Every year, we hear stories of the next Gordan Cowans or Paul McGrath shining at Bodymoor Heath. Every year, fans are let down.
It is clear the budget at B6 will be slashed next season so bringing through youngsters will be the main way to keep the squad fresh. Alan Hansen famously said in 1995 that “You can’t win anything with kids” and that belief is upheld by most Premier League managers, despite Hansen being proved wrong by Manchester United’s ‘class of ’92’.
Regrettably, at Aston Villa, the team isn’t winning without an injection of youth. There are eleven Premier League games remaining in the 2015-16 season. With relegation more or less accepted now, what is the harm in playing the youngsters who will most likely form the spine of the Villa team in years to come? Throwing youngsters into a team that is sinking fast is a tough decision for any manager to make and Garde’s reputation has already been ripped to shreds. If Garde were to play the youth players, no fan would have any real objection.
It is just unreal , give a young hungry guy a chance and watch what happens ⚽️👏🏼
— Bradley Lewis (@BradleyLewis27) February 28, 2016
As with most ideas, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
Air of negativity
The atmosphere amongst fans is currently poisonous, with fans fighting more than the eleven men on the pitch. Would it be right to expect teenagers to be faced with a barrage of abuse from their own fans? It would immediately put them under pressure.
Furthermore, are any of our youngsters actually good enough to play in the Premier League? We can presume that Garde has already considered using some of those in the academy. If they’re good enough, they’re old enough.
They’re itching to play and could surprise a few
There are players in the Villa youth ranks who are raring to get going and play in the first team. Marcus Rashford has found himself in the Manchester United first team in the past week and he has snatched his chance, scoring four times in two games and grabbing an assist. This led to many of the promising youngsters at Aston Villa tweeting about giving youth a chance. Jordan Lyden and Andre Green have been named among the first team substitutes a few times now, although they’re yet to be given a real chance. Lyden is versatile and surely worth a shot in midfield over the inept Westwood or the equally inept Hutton at right-back. Aly Cissokho has been no better than Kieran Richardson, so why not bring Bradley Lewis in?
Andre Green would bring the unexpected: he has bags of skill and his rawness could be interesting to see rather than watching Carles Gil struggling for large parts of games.
Between the sticks, Mark Bunn has been exposed in recent weeks. A.C Milan has a sixteen-year-old in goal this season who has impressed. We have eighteen-year-old Matija Sarkic. Perhaps he can’t be thrown in.
Niall Mason, like Jerell Sellars, impressed in pre-season. They’re crying out for a chance.
Love seeing young players getting their chance and doing well! Because myself as a young footballer knows how hard it is 👊🏽
— niall mason (@niallmason_5) February 28, 2016
This Rashford has got me sat here on my settea itching.. Lol
— Jerell Sellars (@RelSellars) February 28, 2016
So what should Garde do? What is the worst that can happen if he gives some of our youth players a chance? Well, it could go badly wrong but the risks are minimal when relegation is all but confirmed.
Jack Grealish crashed and burned last season after being exposed to the limelight. We do not want to see that happen to any more young players.
I don’t believe that there is a tougher division in world football than the Championship so it is imperative that the youngsters are thoroughly prepared for what will be a difficult campaign.