One of the main criticisms of Aston Villa this season is that the side has used too many young players, which has got them into a relegation dogfight when they should be pushing towards the opposite half of the table.
It’s a decision and a direction the manager has taken and he doesn’t appear to be ready to drop that theory. His praise of the Aston Villa Under-21 side and their progression to the quarter-finals of the NextGen Series will make him believe that the club can achieve great things with a younger squad.
It’s the second season in a row that the Villa youngsters have reached at least this point of the NextGen competition and they face a tie against Olympiakos in order to get a semi-final place.
There is some proof that his faith in younger players in the Villa first team has worked this season. Christian Benteke has been superb with 17 goals for the club in all competitions, leading the attack at the age of just 22-years-old.
Villa can also take encouragement from the way Andreas Weimann has played this season as an attacking midfield player. He and Benteke have both produced performances, which are getting them tipped with bigger moves.
Both players are proof that the youth policy that Lambert is using has paid off, which will act as encouragement to him to maintain it.
You’ve also got to take into context the rumours and stories linking Villa with various players this summer. Many have said that more experience and age is needed but the freshest reports suggest the opposite.
One of the most recent rumours suggests that the club will look to give Scott Sinclair a way out of Manchester City, after he moved to the club from Swansea and has failed to feature regularly in Roberto Mancini’s first team plans.
Younger players with less experience don’t cost as much and Villa are a club that don’t have tens of millions to spend on established players when the summer window officially opens.
It’s a risk, it always has been and always will be but if Villa pull off survival then it could be the very making of the team and club, which should only get stronger because Lambert won’t want his youngsters to ever be in this current position ever again.
Villa fans, are you happy with youth as the main policy?
image: © ell brown