Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has provided his latest thoughts on Jhon Duran while noting that he’s happy with the options and balance in his squad.
The expectation was that Villa would carefully and slowly manage the 19-year-old’s adaptation and adjustment to life in England as it’s a big step up from where he was previously.
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However, such has been the impressive nature of his cameo appearances off the bench thus far, excitement and optimism are building over the impact that he could make for us moving forward.
Duran has totalled just 50 minutes of football in a Villa shirt, but whether it was his effort that crashed off the crossbar against Man City or his run from almost the halfway line that nearly resulted in a goal against Arsenal had he been able to find a more clinical finish, he has shown really promising signs already.
Given his age and lack of experience though, Emery will no doubt continue to move him along at the pace that he feels is right for him, and while making an impact off the bench in the latter stages of games is one thing, earning a starting role and carrying out tactical instructions over 90 minutes is another entirely.
Nevertheless, Emery sounded more than comfortable with the idea of Duran and Ollie Watkins playing alongside each other, and while he is pleased with what the Colombian youngster has shown to date, he is still adamant that he has a lot to learn and he will undoubtedly be very demanding of him moving forward.
“They [Watkins and Duran] can play together,” he told the media, as per VillaTV. “Duran has to improve and adapt, he has potential of course, but we’re trying to speak with him about the adaptation.
“His mentality is good, and now we are going to work on his emotion when he is playing. He is really trying to make an impact with his desire to score and wishing to show his performance. We have to think about the balance when he’s playing, as well tactically he has to learn and adapt.
“He is doing it every day and we are very, very demanding with him but of course as well, supporting him to get his best performance, first in training and then playing matches.”
Meanwhile, Emery also shared his thoughts on the balance in the current squad in terms of his attacking options, and it seems as though he is more than happy with who is available.
There had been concerns that Villa were perhaps light of firepower for the remainder of the campaign after opting to sell Danny Ings last month while Cameron Archer was loaned out, but it sounds as though the Spaniard is pleased with the flexibility and versatility of those at his disposal.
Emery has now been in charge of 12 games across all competitions since he arrived in October, and Villa have scored at least one goal in every outing and 20 in total. That would suggest that we’re certainly making progress in the attacking phase, but having also conceded 24 goals in those 12 games, it’s clear we need to improve at the other end.
“Now it’s clear, it’s Watkins, Jhon Duran and Leon Bailey,” he added. “They are the three playing either with two strikers or one striker and one winger. Of course, we can also add some No.10s like Buendia and Coutinho. I think we have a good balance in the squad and I can use players in different positions and it’s good for us.”