Unai Emery has praised Ashley Young’s influence and impact under him so far, but confirmed no decision has yet been made on his Aston Villa future.
The 37-year-old has continued to play a key role for us so far this season, making 21 appearances across all competitions as he’s shown that his leadership, versatility and quality are all still important attributes within the current squad.
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While Matty Cash may well have displaced him in the Villa XI at right-back in recent weeks, there is no doubt that Young is an influential figure in the group, and Emery is unsurprisingly happy with what he’s continuing to contribute despite his advancing years.
However, a decision will be needed this summer as Young’s current contract is set to expire in June, and for now, Emery is happy to wait until closer to the time to make a decision as it promises to be a crucial summer for Villa as he gets the opportunity to really mould the squad into his own.
“I am very happy with him,” he said, as quoted by BirminghamLive. “He played a lot of matches but, now, he has been on the bench in the last matches behind Matty Cash. Now, I think he’s very important in the dressing room and in the squad. Of course, we have to decide from now until the end of the season about his future.
“Now, I am happy with him. We have to be clear in the decision about him. I think we can wait because it’s in three months and we will know about his future. He has experience.
“He is playing well, he’s a good player. His training is good. I am happy with him but the decision is not fixed yet with him.”
Looking beyond the experience and leadership aspects of the decision, it’s important to assess what Young is still capable of producing on the pitch, and as we’ve seen so far this season, he is still playing an important role when needed.
In turn, unless the situation changes significantly in the coming months where the general feeling is that he won’t be needed moving forward in the long-term or will be severely limited to a bit-part role if he falls down the pecking order, the expectation is that an agreement to extend will be reached to keep him at Villa.
Given what he’s achieved and contributed thus far in his two spells with us, it would certainly be the popular sentimental outcome if he did indeed agree on a renewal to stay with us, but Emery and the hierarchy will no doubt continue to make decisions that benefit Villa in the long run.