With all the headlines Louie Barry has made since he netted that now iconic goal against Liverpool, Aston Villa fans may be taking a real close look at some of their club’s other emerging talents.
One starlet who only joined the club late last year, but could well be a future star for Dean Smith’s side, is Lamare Bogarde.
The 17-year-old joined from Dutch giants Feyernoord, and has been spending time with both the U23s and U18s so far this season.
Speaking after his arrival, academy manager Mark Harrison, raved: “We are delighted to welcome Lamare to the club. He is a player with immense potential and the commitment that will go in to fulfilling that starts now.”
Described by The Athletic’s Gregg Evans as “one to keep an eye on” after signing a professional contract with the club last week, Bogarde could be Smith’s new diamond from the academy set-up.
A holding midfielder by trade, but also capable of playing a little further forward and even further back as a central defender, the young Dutchman’s versatility speaks volumes about his tactical intelligence.
You only have to look at Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka who has played in a number of positions in his fledgling career to see why young players being able to fulfil multiple roles at an early age is a great sign of things to come.
Bogarde has shown that he isn’t just someone who can sit in front of the back four and protect, bagging a goal and an assist in the only game he played in central midfield in the U18 Premier League for Villa.
And in the hour or so he was on the pitch against Liverpool in the FA Cup, he showed some promising signs of what he has to offer. The two interceptions he made were a joint team-high and they proved that he can read the game well even against Champions League winners like Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.
He was also one of only two Villa players on the night to provide a key pass, and that bravery on the ball and willingness to take risks, despite playing in a more withdrawn role in central midfield, bodes well for Smith going forward.
With Conor Hourihane’s future up in the air this month – recent reports claim that he could be on his way out of the club – there’s a real opportunity for Bogarde to get some game-time over these coming weeks and months in the Premier League, as Villa’s games are likely to come thick and fast given the few postponements they’ve had recently.
Aside from the odd appearance from Marvelous Nakamba, Smith’s central midfield picks have pretty much just been Douglas Luiz and John McGinn. By using the 6ft Bogarde, Smith could freshen up the squad and give yet another academy talent a path-way into the first-team, whilst keeping his stars fit and fresh.