Aston Villa winger Jaden Philogene-Bidace has impressed in the Championship thus far after joining Stoke City on loan in January for the rest of the season.
The 20-year-old has scored once in nine league appearances for a Potters side that have seen their form dramatically dip whilst the Englishman has been at the Bet365 Stadium, winning just three of their last 17 league matches.
However, according to SofaScore, the winger is currently averaging a 6.79 rating, a solid figure for the youngster’s first taste of regular first-team football.
Philogene-Bidace has experienced some first-team football for Villa this season though, receiving a brief cameo in the 2-0 Premier League win over Newcastle earlier this season whilst also appearing twice in the EFL Cup and briefly against Manchester United in the FA Cup.
There’s no doubt that manager Steven Gerrard rates the young winger and a strong end to the Championship season with Stoke could see the Englishman involved more frequently with the first-team next season.
Ings has netted five goals in what’s been a mixed campaign for the Englishman whilst wingers Bailey and Buendia have scored a combined three goals with the former facing numerous injury-related setbacks.
The Jamaica international has managed just four Premier League starts in claret and blue since his move from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, giving the 24-year-old more of an excuse for his slow start to life at Villa Park.
As for Buendia, the Argentinian has made 28 appearances in all competitions, scoring just twice whilst registering four assists, making each goal contribution worth £6.33m.
The addition of Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona has made an instant impact, with the Brazilian scoring four goals and providing three assists in ten appearances and could make his stay permanent with the West Midlands club reportedly in talks with the Spanish giants.
However, with a lack of output in the final third from both Bailey and Buendia, there could certainly be a squad role available for Philogene-Bidace next term.
The youngster, who scored a staggering eight goals in six U23 appearances before his loan move, has previously been labelled as “the real deal” by reporters when playing for Villa’s youth setup.
Moreover, former coach Ahmed Abdulla explained: “He’s a right footer but he plays off the left. He can come inside or go on the outside. The model winger.
“He hugs the touchline and can beat his man. (He’s) Very confident and very light on his feet and skips past tackles, not one of them that gets hit and goes down. He bounces off tackles.”
There’s plenty of excitement surrounding Philogene-Bidace right now and there’s no doubt that Gerrard will be keeping a very close eye on the 20-year-old winger during pre-season this summer.