Name: Indiana Vassilev
Club: Aston Villa
Date of Birth: 16 February 2001
Position: Forward (centre/wide)/Attacking midfielder
Indiana Vassilev – his career so far
Indiana Vassilev is the latest in line of American wonderkids who decided to leave their country and find their success abroad. The now 19-year-old attacking player has joined the Aston Villa roster three years ago when he was first scouted at the 2017 under-17s World Cup and managed to impress the English scouts.
Interestingly enough, the American international is a part of a big footballing family since both his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were also footballers so, in a way, this gem with a Bulgarian heritage was always destined to play the beautiful game.
He’s been a part of their academy since 2017, joining the Villains’ U18 squad shortly after being scouted and deemed worthy, and then clawing his way up and towards an odd chance with the first team.
He recorded a total of 28 appearances for the U18s, scoring four goals and also assisting four more under his belt in the process as well. In July 2019, he was registered with the U23 squad, moving up in the rankings due to his fast development in the academy.
Vassilev has also been quite successful at that level as well, registering 24 appearances and bagging six goals with two assists along the way too, basically mimicking his contribution with the U18s.
But most importantly, the American youngster has already been capped by Dean Smith and the seniors as he can boast with four first-team appearances to his name, all four coming in 2019/20 and two of them in the Premier League as well.
The 19-year-old has also been a big part of his country’s youth setups too, training with the U17s even before his 16th birthday and then impressing in the 2017 World Cup in India. Since then, he has also stepped up to the U23 level and is still a very highly rated prospect back home.
But the same can be said for his club as Vassilev could still be one for the future.
The biggest transfer rumours surrounding the youngster is his potential to slot into the first team somewhere down the line. And this could very well happen sooner rather than later. There was some interesting Aston Villa news coming out of the camp recently when his former coach Rusty Scarborough heaped praise on the young lad, which could be a hint for his future.
“On the field, you know he’s out there, he’s a leader, people follow him. The technical aspect he’s developed at a young age so now he’s phenomenal on the ball, passing, dribbling, shooting, heading, receiving.”
At the very moment, there don’t seem to be any more transfer news on him but the sheer skill and the mentality he possesses should be enough to warrant him a place with the seniors more often once football resumes.
He’s also been training consistently with the first-team and that is further proof Smith has him in his thoughts at all times. This one seems just like a matter of time.
The best thing about Vassilev are his versatility and the leadership mentality he demonstrates when he’s on the pitch. According to Transfermarkt’s database of games, the 19-year-old has been deployed all across the forward line and as an attacking midfielder throughout his stay with the Villains.
On the odd occasion he’s also played as a left midfielder and a deeper, central midfielder, but those instances were rare so we can’t use them in our analysis.
Since he’s had limited exposure to the first team and most of his game time has come from the academy, there’s not much data available on the youngster. But by observing his movement and heatmaps, he does seem to be a player who favours the half-spaces on either of the flanks to progress the ball.
He’s very good technically and can force his way through tight spaces – this makes him effective against low blocks and means he could transform into a creative force on the pitch. With six strikes for the U23s already, he also has an eye for goal.
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