The match against Brighton had apparently come to a standstill in the second half as holding on Aston Villa The defense looked comfortable in its defensive form, but is relatively weak up front.
Ashley Young was replaced by Emiliano Buendia at 74 NS minutes and proved to be an inspiring transformation that impacted the match at the end Steven Gerrard favor.
Young was serving as a central midfielder at 4-3-3, which is similar to how he used veteran versatile Dean Smith against West Ham United. He demonstrated his ability to play this way effectively after picking up the ball on the edge of his penalty area, driving forward and calmly firing Ole Watkins through the opening goal.
This was Young’s first assist in a Villa shirt since the 2010/11 season, and while he may close his career, it’s clear he can still play a big role on and off the field for this team.
Gerard He summed up the huge role Young plays by saying: “I know Ashley very well and he’s been absolutely fantastic since we walked in the door. Not just on the training pitch but his leadership and setting the standards.
“We see players like him as an outer layer of the squad, if you want to, who really help us when we need to rely on him. He was ready today and the important thing about Ash is that he can play right back, left back, eight, ten or cross. This is what good players allow you to do as a manager, and it allows you to play in different ways.”
Young led the team in creating four shots in just 17 minutes of play against Brighton. He showed the experience and composure that Villa may be lacking in this match and explained why he is such an important figure in this aspect.
While he played a big role in the opening goal, he can also be seen sacrificing his body on the defensive end. Having been caught late on by Alexis Mac Allister, he was able to take the ball out and let go of any pressure his side was under.
It was a good showing from Young that he also scored a passing accuracy of 91.7%, completed all his dribbles and won 100% of his ground duels. Whether it was providing the grit needed in front of the defense to strengthen his team or pushing them forward with his quality on the ball, Young did everything he was asked and more in this match.
From now on, Young could be a pivotal role for Gerrard. With Douglas Luiz’s injury continuing to sideline the Brazilian midfielder, he could give Gerard Young a bigger role in the squad should he wish to make any changes.
Gerrard will continue to lean on players like Young as the new coach looks to the next game against Crystal Palace, aiming to build on the team’s first win since September.