“Always say” – what the Aston Villa contract call could mean for Jack Grealish and Callum O’Hare – Ashley Preece

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American teenager Indiana Vassilev has signed a two-year extension to her contract with Aston Villa which will take him into the summer of 2022.

The U-20 international has played four matches with the first team under Dean Smith after breaking with the U-23 in January.

Vassilev’s form for Mark Delaney’s youth team caught the eye of Smith who instantly promoted the 19-year-old to first team training.

Vassilev shot six goals in 14 youth appearances and, at a time of attacking crunch, stepped out of the bench to lead the way in crucial games against Brighton, Leicester in cup and Watford.

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So what does the extension of today’s contract for the future of Vassilev’s Villa tell you?

Club writer Ashley Preece points out how Smith assesses the complex avant-garde player, while explaining where Vassilev could appear in the months and years to come…

What does Smith think of Vassilev?



Smith simply adores his gentle nature, his intelligence of the ball and his tenacious work rhythm. Vassilev has always been present at Villa’s first team sessions since the start of the year, and his new deal only reaffirms Smith’s admiration for him.

The youngster was impressive and, speaking previously, Smith said, “It surprised me the right way. Sometimes when you give a young player an opportunity, they can sink or swim. He is certainly a swimmer. He looked very good so far.

“You can always tell how the reaction is through the other players, in their relationships with them. You can see them all behind him. He comes in and puts a change for them. If you do this and you have quality to add to it you will do well in the dressing room. ”

How did Vassilev manage to train?

Vassilev is now a first team player after having proven himself at Bodymoor. In play situations, the teenager mainly played in a left position against players like Ahmed Elmohamady and Frédéric Guilbert. Vassilev excelled over the harvest of Villa’s first team, hence the extension of today’s contract.

“The bottom line is that you have to prove yourself when you train first,” said Vassilev. “It is not good to introduce yourself, go through the motions and expect to be on the team on a match day. The gaffer demands the most from you every day. It’s his best trait, getting the most out of his players in training. .

“It’s very, very intense. I had to find my place before someone took me under his wing. You have to prove yourself as a player in training sessions to show that you have a bit and you can participate in this. Then you start talking and getting to know the other players. ”

Why was Vassilev accelerated?



Indiana Vassilev of Aston Villa

As Smith pointed out, Vassilev was thrown at a time of real need in the midst of an attacking attack, and the boss wanted to see if he would “sink or swim.” He obviously did the latter but, being as humble as he was, Vassilev said that he had been lucky.

The delicate playmaker also made reference to how easily his under-23 teammate Jacob Ramsey could have easily “stepped up” but, instead, Smith sent “JJ” on loan to prove himself. League One.

“I was just lucky in terms of injuries and who got injured,” said Vassilev, while highlighting Villa’s talented treadmill in Bodymoor. “If it was a different position, I don’t think we would have had a problem. If he were, say, an attacking midfielder, it would not have been a problem for JJ to step up and play at this level because he is given the ability to do so. ”

What place will Vassilev have under Smith?

The improved contract is just a carrot hanging in front of Vassilev to prove itself over the next 24 months. It’s not a long time at all in football, but the decision to tie up the American is a clever decision of Villa.

If you look at the previous offers, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy got a lucrative three and a half year contract in February 2017. The young striker made only 13 more appearances after that and seems ready to leave Villa for free when his agreement expires on next month.

Vassilev’s extension gives the American whiz-kid extra concentration to break through even further. In contrast, teammate Ramsey signed a new deal until the summer of 2024 in January that tells you all about Villa’s hopes for the 18-year-old Great Barr.



Ramsey, who played on loan to Doncaster before the lockdown, is rated much higher than Vassilev currently and is considered a future No. 8 in the engine room of Villa.

As for Vassilev, he is heavily on the left foot and could become a delicate left winger with a relentless pace of work that Smith wants. It could also mean that Captain Jack Grealish could move further down the field in the coming months, rather than being moved to the left.

Vassilev played as No. 9 under Delaney for the under 23s, but is more of an attacking midfielder who scores goals and creates goals. Now it’s up to Savannah’s man to prove himself once again.

What is important to note is that Vassilev is of the same ilk as a certain Callum O’Hare who is three years older. It remains to be seen whether O’Hare will be offered a new deal given his expiring contract – or whether Vassilev’s expansion will pave the way for O’Hare’s somewhat unpopular exit.



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