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Aston Villa: Noel Whelan suggests benching Jacob Ramsey

Aston Villa: Noel Whelan suggests benching Jacob Ramsey -Aston Villa News

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard may need to offer Jacob Ramsey a ‘small rest period’ for the youngster’s benefit.

That’s according to the former Leeds United man Noel Whelan, who was speaking to Football Insider.

The lowdown

Ramsey was a substitute for the final four matches of Dean Smith’s tenure but returned to the starting line-up for Gerrard’s first game in charge against Brighton in November and has featured in the XI for all but one Premier League fixture since.

The 20-year-old has scored five goals, one of which ignited Villa’s comeback in their 2-2 draw with Manchester United in January.

Only Ollie Watkins (six) has found the net more times for the Midlands outfit so far this season.

Ramsey has well and truly ‘burst onto the scene’, in the words of Whelan, with The Telegraph’s Mike McGrath claiming he could now be on Gareth Southgate’s radar for the World Cup at the end of the year.

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The latest

Whelan, a pundit for BBC Radio Leeds, is under no illusions as to the qualities Ramsey provides – end-product, drive and energy – but warned that they may be feeling ‘the pinch of the Premier League’.

Gerrard, he says, will be wary of the physical and mental toll for a young player who’s just broken through, and may briefly take him out of the firing line as a result in a ‘massive call’.

“He’s really burst onto the scene and claimed that spot,” Whelan said.

“He has brought goals, assists into that midfield – and he’s quite a powerful player. That’s what you’ve got to look at. He drives with the ball and gives you loads of energy.

“I think sometimes as a younger player coming through after being in that youth setup – you can feel the pinch of the Premier League.

“He’s played a lot of games in the past couple of months, and that requires a lot of intensity. Sometimes it can catch up with you – physically and mentally.

“I think Steven Gerrard will be massively aware of those dangers having come through at a very young age himself.

“A small rest period would be a massive call, but may well be good for the young man, and with the likes of Buendia on the bench – they’ve got a really good amount of depth to replace him.”

The verdict

Gerrard may be hesitant to rotate Ramsey given that he produced a solid performance as Villa returned to winning ways against Brighton last week.

The £13.5million-rated Englishman won seven of his 13 ground duels, making five tackles, and also completed 19 of his 23 passes (via SofaScore).

What’s more, Buendia – predominantly an attacking midfielder and sometimes a winger – probably shouldn’t be seen as a like-for-like replacement for a central midfielder in Ramsey.

He may encounter a rough patch at some stage, testing Gerrard’s man management skills, but that doesn’t seem to have arrived just yet.

In other news, a source has shared an update on the future of Ollie Watkins.

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Article title: Aston Villa: Noel Whelan suggests benching Jacob Ramsey

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