Ashley Young Kicks-off His Villa Return
The Aston Villa players who haven’t been away on international duty returned to Bodymoor Heath today for preseason training and the sight of an evergreen looking Ashley Young turning up will certainly take some getting used to. It’s been around a decade since he last trained at Bodymoor and judging by the club’s pictures of his arrival, he hasn’t aged a day since then.
Young, a free transfer from Inter Milan, has largely been received by Villa fans as a ‘nothing to lose’ positive move, although there’s still some Villans on social media that haven’t quite forgiven him for leaving for Manchester United all those years ago.
The Age Concern
The big question mark is obviously his age with the winger/full-back turning 36-years-old this week.
When you look at Young’s recent league appearance record though, he’s actually been playing more frequently than when at his supposed peak at United. Over his first full eight seasons at Old Trafford he averaged 22.5 league games. During his last four seasons of football at both United and Inter, he’s averaged 29 league games a season.
Antonio Conte has a reputation for having fit teams and Young couldn’t have been a slouch to play regularly in a team that successfully lifted the Serie A title last season.
You only have to look at this summer’s Euros for further evidence of age being no barrier, when you consider the contributions of players even older than Young, with Sweden’s Seb Larsson, Croatia’s Luka Modric, North Macedonia’s Goran Pandev and Portugal’s Ronaldo and Pepe, showing they can still perform at a top international level.
On the My Old Man Said podcast over the last season we’ve often discussed the potential benefit to Villa of adding a wily old talented head to the squad. Young certainly fits the bill.
As Villans will recall Young’s set play delivery is certainly welcome considering it was a weakness of the team last season. As he proved at title-winning Inter, he still has something to offer on the wing and will certainly cover Trezequet’s absence from injury. He also offers cover at full-back, but additionally is something different from the bench too, if he doesn’t make the first XI. At the end of last season, bringing on the likes of Keinan Davis or Jacob Ramsay wasn’t exactly going to change the game, Young though can impact games having been a match-winner all his career.
On the below episode of the MOMS podcast we share our thoughts on Young and we look forward to seeing him in action in Villa’s preseason fixtures.
In a year that marks the 10th anniversary of My Old Man Said, we’ll consider Ashley Young a present from the club, since he departed the club mere weeks before MOMS actually started!
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David Michael – @oldmansaid
Chris Budd – @BUDD_music
Phillip Shaw – @prsgame
My Old Man Said – https://www.myoldmansaid.com
Editor/Producer – David Michael
Music – Philip Marten