Aston Villa’s youth will have ‘an opportunity to shine again’ in the injury-enforced absence of Leon Bailey.
That’s according to the former Leeds United forward Noel Whelan, who was speaking to Football Insider.
Bailey, a goalscorer in the 3-0 win over Everton last weekend, will miss at least two matches with a thigh strain.
Manager Dean Smith hopes he’ll be ready to return for the first game after the international break, but can’t be sure just yet.
With Trezeguet, another winger, out long-term, Dean Smith’s options include Anwar El Ghazi, Bertrand Traore and Jaden Philogene-Bidace.
19-year-old Philogence-Bidace is awaiting a full Premier League debut after making two substitute appearances.
He was handed a 26-minute run-out in the Carabao Cup defeat against Chelsea in midweek and ‘impressed’, according to Shropshire Star journalist Matt Maher.
Whelan has backed Villa to cope with the blow of losing Bailey by turning to their pool of talented youngsters.
“A month is quite a long time,” he said. “It’s not ideal but Aston Villa are another team that play a lot of young players.
“They’ll look at them and go: ‘We have got back up. It’s an opportunity for them to shine again.'”
Philogene-Bidace has been directly involved in eight goals (scoring five and assisting three more) in 18 appearances at Premier League 2 level, and Smith has now deemed him ‘capable of competing’ in the men’s top-flight.
He’s still a little way down the pecking order, and Villa face two of the trickiest away fixtures before the break, travelling first to Manchester United and then to Spurs.
Will Smith look to him to inspire the team if they’re trailing? It may be a little early for that, but what a show of faith it would be.
In other news, fans react to images that have surfaced pre-United.
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