After much uncertainty over his future, Ashley Young has put an end to speculation after signing a new one-year contract at Aston Villa.
The 36-year-old’s previous deal expired last month, and that in turn suggested that he could consider his options as a free agent this summer.
However, as the Villa squad reported back for pre-season training on Monday, Young was in attendance and the club confirmed he would be staying for another year shortly after, as per their official statement.
Young a key figure in current Villa squad
Although he was limited to 25 appearances for Villa last season, largely in a squad player role, there is absolutely no doubt over Young’s importance in this Villa squad.
His experience, pedigree at the highest level and leadership are all valuable attributes that he brings to the group, and his guidance is vital both on and off the pitch whether that’s in-game advice in trying to address an issue under pressure, or helping those around him to improve their game in training.
The young players at the club with a lot of potential, of whom there are many right now as we have a highly-talented crop of youngsters coming through the ranks, should use Young as a resource for guidance and development in their respective careers, and so having him stay another year is crucial in that process.
Beyond that though, Young isn’t just some form of cheerleader or mentor. His versatility and ability to still do a job when called upon regardless of the role or position means that he can still make a valuable contribution on the pitch himself.
Steven Gerrard will have considered all aspects when discussing the situation with the club over the summer, and evidently he still feels as though Young can offer him something when needed.
Young is a top-class professional. He will continue to be an important part of the Villa squad for another 12 months at least, and as we try to compete and break into the European qualification spots in the Premier League standings, he will certainly play an important role in that ongoing process as we look to build on last season.