It was a night those Aston Villa players and the fans watching back at home will never ever forget.
Heading into their FA Cup third round clash against Liverpool on Friday night, there was real concern over whether the game would even go ahead, such was the nature of the circumstances for the home side.
But Mark Delaney’s clutch of academy starlets more than held their own against the Premier League champions. If anything, their 4-1 defeat at Villa Park may actually go down as one of their most proud, and praise-worthy performances and games of the season.
And Ben Chrisene, who was one of two 16-year-old’s on the night, typified Villa’s fight and desire.
Stationed out on the left-hand side, and coming up against Mohamed Salah on that flank – winner of two Premier League Golden Boot awards – his work was cut out from the first minute, making sure he helped out teammate Callum Rowe who was behind him.
As per Sofascore, Chrisene won 100% of his duels, and made one tackle and clearance apiece as he carried out Delaney’s game-plan to an absolute tee.
And whilst understandably he didn’t have too many opportunities to showcase his ability going forward, he stuck to his task well and never got carried away.
Such was his performance, that The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece declared on Twitter that Chrisene was “like a mini Gareth Barry”.
And in his post-match player ratings, Preece added: “Really like this kid. Chrisene was signed by Exeter in the summer amid interest from the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea. He’s really calm on the ball and is Gareth Barry-esque in his approach; tidy, neat in possession and a good left foot. Chrisene was one of two 16-year-old’s in the starting XI.”
If Johan Lange was watching the game, then he no doubt would have been left impressed by Chrisene’s debut. A central midfielder by trade, but someone who quite clearly play off the left too, the teenager showed that his versatility could be a huge asset for Villa going forward.
Just like former Villa star Barry, having someone in the team who can be a jack of all trades and fill in for the team wherever needed can be a priceless commodity. Especially in the modern world of inflated transfer fees and wages.
Chrisene could save Lange and Villa millions if he continues on his rise to stardom.