With reports linking Aston Villa with a summer swoop for Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, Dean Smith might be more advised to unleash a player who he already has at his disposal: Louie Barry.
The 17-year-old was the talk of the town earlier this season when he scored in Villa’s FA Cup defeat to Liverpool, but that break-out moment has yet to result in any more action for first-team, with the striker yet to make the match-day squad in the Premier League.
The lack of senior action has seen Lee Hendrie raise his concerns about the way Smith has failed to use him, and urged the Villa boss to reconsider.
Speaking exclusively to FFC, he said: “I’m really disappointed that he hasn’t featured, not even really on the bench since that Liverpool game with the fabulous goal that he scored. He reminds me of a young Michael Owen in the fact that he’s very slight, small, but he’s very quick, and I’m surprised that he hasn’t been given a bit more of a chance since that game.
“I just feel that he should now be getting into the first–team squad, being on the bench and getting thrown on for the last 20 minutes, relieving a bit of pressure, just because he’s got that pace that he can burn off.”
Barry appears to have all the ability to become a real star for Villa for now and the future, with club’s academy manager, Mark Harrison, saying: “He is still a very young man but as he’s developed, he’s always been one player that you always recognise as having outstanding attributes. He’s got a fantastic mentality, he’s desperate to do well for this football club.
“As a player, his real strength is his work rate, he’s constantly pressurising the opposition when they are on the ball, looking to create opportunities for himself to nick the ball high up the pitch. He is quick, and looks to play off the shoulders of the defenders, always looking for space behind them to be able to run into.”
Rather than spending a massive amount of money on someone like Abraham, surely Smith could give that opportunity to Barry and see if he rises to the occasion.
Young players just need that one chance to impress, and Barry has already shown in that FA Cup match against Liverpool that he’s got an enormous amount of potential.
It’s time Smith recognises that.