‘Traore won a hat-trick of awards – Young Player of the Year, Player’s Player of the Year and the Supporter’s Player of the Year’

Adama Traore – is he a real threat to Aston Villa’s promotion plans?

It’s a thought that some Aston Villa supporters started to contemplate as soon as the play-off semi-final draw finally firmed up on the last day of the season.

All of Villa’s three matches against Middlesbrough took place last year, so Villa supporters haven’t recently had the chance to see first hand the mooted improvement in his game.

Headless Chicken?

There exists a camp of Villa supporters who dismiss the Middlesbrough winger completely, based on his troubled time at Villa and his sending off after just three minutes in the league game at Villa Park this season.

MOMS joked in the recent Media Muppet column: ‘Tony Pulis is apparently up there with Jesus. Although, it has to be said, Pulis turning a headless chicken into a £30m world beater, pips simply turning water into wine. Traore is not a £30m player, at this moment in time.’

‘A headless chicken’ is the description often used to describe the ex-Villa player by Villa fans on social media, and was actually the initial thoughts of a Villa manager or two on first seeing the player in training.

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Transformation

Under Pulis though, Traore has flourished. Maybe not to the extent of really being a £30m player, but he’s made decent progress.

In 26 starts (eight substitute appearances), Traore has five goals and 10 assists to his name. In comparison, Villa’s Robert Snodgrass managed seven goals and 14 assists, but that is from 38 starts (and two as sub).

Since Villa went 2nd in the league table after their 2-0 win against the Blues at Villa Park, Boro have outperformed Villa over the remainder of the season, and Traore has been a chief contributor to that.

Award Hat-trick

In a strong squad, Traore further announced his rebirth by winning all the main award awards at Boro’s annual Player of the Year dinner at the Riverside on Sunday evening (yes, they had their dinner actually at the end of the regular season).

Traore won a hat-trick of awards – Young Player of the Year, Player’s Player of the Year and the Supporter’s Player of the Year – which suggests, everyone from his teammates to Boro fans, are convinced of his progress.

Earlier on in the season, it was looking like Villa clearly had the better end of the deal with Boro, trading Traore for Albert Adomah (who has 14 league goals this season), but now it’s not so clear.

Events in next week, will probably go a long way to settling the debate though…

UTV

First thoughts on Villa vs Middlesbrough play-off games in the new MOMS podcast episode: