On Monday, Aston Villa's U21 team won a thrilling contest by the score of three goals to two against West Ham. A sopping wet Villa Park pitch that more closely resembled a swamp than a footballing surface certainly contributed to some of the thrills and spills, but the Young Lions put on an energetic display that should give Villa fans signs of hope going forward.
Captained by Jack Grealish, who was instrumental in creating the first two goals before being forced off with an injury, the young Villans displayed attacking quality that the senior side simply hasn't shown this term. Even though I tweeted that the entire youth side should be trotted out at the weekend against Manchester United in the upcoming Premier League fixture, that's not entirely what I believe should happen. However, some of these kids deserve the chance to show what they can do.
Even megamoney Manchester United have seen success come from playing the youngsters this season. Striker Marcus Rashford, just 18 years old, has scored five times across all competitions. Central defender Patrick McNair has played 400 minutes of first team football at the age of 20. Villa should take a page out of United's book and give it a shot.
Obviously Matija Šarkić is too young and inexperienced to displace either Brad Guzan or Mark Bunn, and as much as we'd like to see him play, it just isn't going to happen. The same goes for central defenders Kevin Toner (who may be suspended after incurring a red card at the end of the U21 match) and Niall Mason. Oscar Borg, newly signed from West Ham, is a left back. Why not try him in place of Aly Cissokho?
In midfield, we've already seen glimpses of Jordan Lyden and André Green in first team matches this season. Let's see more of them. Jack Grealish and Adama Traoré also played in the youth team match, but Grealish came off injured and it was Adama's first game back from injury, so even in my wildly speculative scenario, I'm ruling them out.
Some experience is probably needed, but that can come from the forwards. Jordan Ayew and one of either Rudy Gestede or Libor Kozák will lead the line against the Red Devils.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1):
David de Gea; Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo; Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin; Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Memphis Depay; Anthony Martial.
Aston Villa (4-4-2):
Brad Guzan; Alan Hutton, Micah Richards, Ciaran Clark, Oscar Borg; André Green, Jordan Lyden, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Anyone But Kieran Richardson; Jordan Ayew, Libor Kozák.
Do you agree that Villa should throw caution to the wind in an already-lost season? Or should we keep playing Lescott? Let us know in the comments!