At the time of his move, Barnsley fans would have been expecting James Bree to continue his meteoric rise, wouldn’t you?
Having made his Barnsley debut on the last day of the 2013/14 season, Bree’s appearances became more regular in League One the following season at just 17 years of age. Bree was one of a few bright sparks in a mid-table finish.
Bree continued to regularly appear in the matchday squad and built on his number of displays in the Tykes’ promotion-winning campaign, as he featured 19 times. It was in the Championship, though, that Bree excelled for the Tykes, having soon established himself as a consistent starter.
His fearless displays and attacking prowess caught the attention of some of the sides occupying the positions higher up in the division. Bree signed for Aston Villa in the winter window on a four-and-a-half-year deal which seemed the right transition at the time.
The now 21-year-old has since not been able to establish himself at Villa Park, though. Last season, he made more Premier League 2 appearances (7) than outings in the Championship (6), so it is clear his development has not gone as planned as of yet in the Midlands.
This season, he only managed to string a handful of starts together at Villa during the festive period and was soon loaned out to relegation-sufferers Ipswich Town, where at least he has got consistent game time.
With Frederic Guilbert coming to Villa Park in the summer and considering the two current options, Bree may find himself out on loan once again or even moved on a permanent deal.
Saying that, a return to Oakwell may not be a bad idea to provide the Reds with more depth at right-back and allow Bree the chance to return to the marauding player that attracted clubs in the first place. As it stands, he will return to Villa but who knows what the future may hold.
Tykes fans, what are your standout memories of Bree? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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