Leon Bailey has been ruled out with a thigh injury until after the October international break, meaning he’ll be absent for more than a month, so it opens the door for a player to take his stead.
Noel Whelan believes Dean Smith will give an Aston Villa youngster the opportunity to impress as he’s not been shy in playing the kids this season. He told Football Insider: “A month is quite a long time.
“As a manager, you know you’ve got a match-winner there. You’ve been shown it and then all of a sudden, before the next game, you’ve got that setback and injury.
“It’s not ideal but Aston Villa are another team that play a lot of young players. They’ll look at them and go: ‘We have got back up. It’s an opportunity for them to shine again.’”
Bailey, who contributed 26 goals in 40 games in his last season at Leverkusen, had a hand in two goals from three games at Villa but has amassed only 85 minutes of playing time.
Smith has named eight teenagers in his matchday squad this campaign while giving minutes to Carney Chukwuemeka, Aaron Ramsey, Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Hayden Lindley and Caleb Chukwuemeka, so there’s every chance a youngster replaces Bailey.
That being said, Emiliano Buendia, Anwar El Ghazi and Bertrand Traore are all available to Smith, so the Villa boss isn’t short of senior options ahead of Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Manchester United. Time will tell who gets the nod, however.