Ashley Young is back at Aston Villa a decade after leaving the club for Manchester United.
Now 35, Young brings with him a wealth of experience at the top of the Premier League and abroad having won a title with United and Inter Milan, whom he joined Villa from on Wednesday evening.
However, he has not come back to B6 to sit on the substitute’s bench and while he will be a valuable asset to Villa head coach Dean Smith around the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground he will offer much more than that.
Fresh off a title-winning season with Inter, Young will want to prove himself in the Premier League once again having struggled for game-time toward the end of his spell with United.
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Villa needed to bring in a winger this summer after an injury to Trezeguet in April ruled him out for an extended period and with Neil Taylor and Ahmed Elmohamady leaving Villa Park this summer a player who can fill in at full-back on both sides is most welcome.
“Ashley brings with him a wealth of experience of top-level football both at club and international level and he is joining having just won a league championship in Italy,” Smith said of Young’s return.
“He is a player who can play in a number of positions and, having spoken to him at length, I know he is determined to make a real impact with us this season.”
Writing for BirminghamLive earlier this week, reporter Alex Dicken outlined how Villa could benefit from a potential Young return: “Young was a firm favourite with the Villa Park faithful during his four-year stay, but this transfer suggestion is thoughtful rather than emotional.
“While Young’s best years are obviously behind him, the fact that he played so frequently in a title-winning team means that he still has an awful lot to offer in addition to his experience.
“At Villa Young was viewed as a left winger who would play inside as a second striker, but he can operate in a variety of positions nowadays.
“He was converted into a full-back at Manchester United and was England’s first choice left wing-back at the World Cup in 2018.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even used Young at centre-back on a couple of occasions in 2019 and the ex-Villa wide man didn’t disgrace himself.
“But it’s Young’s ability to play in every wide position that makes him appealing to Villa.
“The exits of Elmohamady and Taylor have left Smith light at full-back and Young is capable of providing strong competition for both Matty Cash and Matt Targett.
“He’s also a proven performer further forward and while Villa have added £33million Emiliano Buendia, another attacking option wouldn’t go amiss – especially with Trezeguet set for an extended spell on the sidelines with injury.
“Based on Young’s experience and ability to excel across a number of positions, Villa could do far worse this summer.”
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