Aston Villa youngster Louie Barry is not only a name recognised by those associated with the West Midlands club, but also those outside of it too.
The 18-year-old sensationally scored an equaliser against the then-reigning Premier League champions Liverpool in the FA Cup last season as a 17-year-old, with Villa having to field a side of youngsters amid numerous pandemic cases within the first-team squad.
With the match televised nationally, millions of viewers saw the young forward’s goal, thinking that they may be witnessing the first glimpse of a star in the making. However, Barry has endured a frustrating campaign this term.
The Englishman was sent out on loan to League One outfit Ipswich Town in the summer with hope that forward would find valuable game time in Suffolk; that wasn’t the case.
Former Tractor Boys manager Paul Cook handed the 18-year-old just 286 minutes of football across six appearances, with Barry failing to register a single goal or assist.
The English youngster was subsequently recalled in January and since has dropped down another division, joining League Two Swindon Town for the remainder of the season.
Since joining, the 18-year-old has made four league appearances for the Robins, two from the bench and two starts.
A 45-minute spell in a 1-1 draw to Crawley Town was followed by a brief 20-minute cameo at home to Exeter City, with the visitors winning 2-1.
Barry didn’t leave the bench against Tranmere Rovers, with his side losing 3-0, but was then handed his first start by his loan club, playing 88 minutes in a 3-0 victory over Scunthorpe United during which the youngster won a penalty.
There is no doubt that Barry has talent, with Arsenal legend Ian Wright labelled the forward’s goal against Liverpool as “amazingly clinical” when working as a pundit for the game.
Moreover, the Englishman has impressed for Villa’s youth sides since joining from Barcelona’s youth setup in January 2020, scoring 14 goals in 21 appearances for the U23s and eight goals in eight appearances for the U18s.
After a frustrating first half of the season at Ipswich, it’s now vital that Barry receives game time in order to continue his development, but also takes the opportunities that come his way. The opportunity at Swindon is a good one and must be taken with both hands if the youngster is to catch the eye of Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard.