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Aston Villa 2018-19 player preview: Jake Doyle-Hayes

Aston Villa’s young Irish pass-master has destiny before him

Aston Villa v West Ham United - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Time moves fast for a character like Jake Doyle-Hayes. It was at age 13 when Jake Doyle-Hayes let go of his promising Gaelic football career to set off to Qatar with the Ireland U16s team. A year later, he was captaining the U15s side. Now, at age 19, he’s moving into the Irish under-21 setup after two years with the under-19 side.

Where Jack Grealish departed to link up with England, it seems that Jake Doyle-Hayes, born of Balleyjamesduff, a town in County Cavan with a population of just over 2,000 people, is ready to continue upon his initial path that will inevitably lead to call-up from the senior Ireland national team. All the while, he’s been playing a lot of football for Villa.

Doyle-Hayes is a veteran at Aston Villa by this point. A prominent member in a number of U23 campaigns at the club, it seems that within the next two season that he’ll step up to the plate for Aston Villa’s first-team. What can he offer that others can’t? Well - at 19, Jake seems to have mastered ‘reflex-passing’ or first-touch football. He’s able to deploy a skillful array of first-time passes that stretch the pitch and unleash the team.

There’s a lot to come from Doyle-Hayes and he’s expected to be on the fringes of the Villa first-team for much of the season and seems a ready made deputy from Conor Hourihane. Having grown into his frame, Jake is able to compete at a senior level where his development will only continue.

He’s a true central-midfielder with attacking instincts and defensive discipline. With much to learn from Hourihane, Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak - there is so much room for Doyle-Hayes to grow in a position he can truly make his own in the future.

And as we’ve come to know from Jake, the future is only a moment away.