After getting their first win of the new Premier League season on Saturday afternoon against Newcastle United, Aston Villa turn their attentions towards the Carabao Cup when they take on Barrow in the second round.
Dean Smith’s side ran out 2-0 winners against the Magpies at the weekend thanks to goals from Danny Ings and Anwar El Ghazi, and tonight could represent the perfect opportunity for the Villa manager to change things up with his team selection.
A number of youngsters could be in line to feature, and one academy starlet who should be starting is Jaden Philogene-Bidace.
While much of the talk has been around Carney Chukwuemeka – which is understandable given his superb performances in the FA Youth Cup last season – Philogene-Bidace is also pushing hard to make his mark on the first team.
The 19-year-old was in fine form last season for the club’s under-23s, scoring five goals in just 14 games at Premier League 2 level, as well as providing three assists. That’s not to mention the superb hat-trick he scored on his England under-19 debut last November.
His former coach Ahmed Abdulla has raved about his ability as an out-and-out winger, and judging by the coach’s comments, he seems perfectly ready to grab his opportunity in senior football.
Abdulla said: “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. He’s very strong and outstanding in one-v-ones.”
Given that Leon Bailey could be missing again, Philogene-Bidace has the kind of explosiveness and trickery to make up for the Jamaican’s absence, and he could really terrify Barrow if he is let off the leash.
Tonight could be the perfect opportunity for Smith to give him a chance.