While the much hyped loan move of Yannick Bolasie to Aston Villa was seen as trumping Middlesbrough and adding dimension to Villa’s attacking arsenal, the fact he recently had a serious knee injury that kept him out for over a year, has largely been forgotten.
Bolasie was out with a serious cruciate knee ligament injury between December 2016 and the end of December 2017. He played 17 times for Everton since his return, but didn’t completely look the same player as in his Crystal Palace days.
The injury certainly contributed to the £25m man that Everton purchased from Crystal Palace, to fall from favour and out of Everton boss Marco Silva’s 25-man Premier League man squad.
When players have such major injuries, not many come back to live up to their previous glories, as former England striker Michael Owen remains a testament to.
The pace lessens, and with it, the ability intrinsic to that speed. Such injuries also mentally effect a player.
“There are times when you don’t know when the end of the road is coming or when you’re going to be back training and start playing,” said Bolasie, of his “career threatening” injury, after he made his comeback against WBA on Boxing Day, last year.
Still, a good player can adapt his game and if he’s lost a yard of pace, for example, maybe he’ll make up for it with increased composure?
Bolasie has always been sharp of mind as a player, so shouldn’t have much problem evolving. He played well enough during the backend of last season to suggest he can be a gem for Villa (see his contribution below vs Liverpool, three weeks into his comeback).
“I didn’t want to come back and just have my name on my shirt and not be the same kind of player,” said Bolasie, on his return from the injury. “I felt that with a bit more match sharpness I’ll probably be even better.”
He hasn’t got there just yet and having been frozen out of Everton plans, had an uncertain pre-season. Due to this, Bolasie is currently not at match sharpness and in his Villa announcement interview this week, he stated that Bruce has him on a plan to get up to speed.
It suggests that it is unlikely we’ll see Bolasie before the international break in September. Certainly, if he’s not on the bench for the mid-week League Cup against Burton to get some minutes under his belt, then he’s still weeks away from playing for Villa.
The important thing though is that Villa have a player with ability with something to prove, hence his willingness to drop down to the Championship
We’ll obviously know more about where’s he at, once that claret and blue shirt is pulled on for the first time.
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