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Aston Villa 2018-2019 player preview: Callum O’Hare

Will 2018-2019 be the season O’Hare breaks through?

AFC Telford United v Aston Villa: Pre-Season Friendly
O’Hare enjoyed an outstanding season with Villa’s U23 squad last season
Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Maybe this season will be the year Callum O’Hare bursts onto the senior scene for Villa. With Jack Grealish’s status as a Villa player up in the air, O’Hare looks poised to take on the local boy hero role if Grealish does indeed move on. But right now, O’Hare’s path to the first team appears blocked by Grealish, and other rotation policies.

The Solihull youngster burst onto the scene during last year’s preseason. Under contract through 2019, O’Hare has become one of the key youngsters Villa will need to look to over the course of the season as transfer activity likely won’t be as robust as it has in year’s past. The forward netted 10 goals and five assists in 17 appearances for Villa’s U23 side last season. Much of the attack was played through O’Hare and his development was apparent over the course of the season.

O’Hare seems to be in a tricky spot, though. On one hand, he seems dominant in U23 play and looks ready to make the next step. He routinely makes Steve Bruce’s senior team bench. But on the other hand, he’s only made four first-team appearances for Villa, all coming off the bench. Working in his favor is his age. At 20 years old, he’s not quite ready to expect regular first-team football. And another year of seasoning with the U23s may do him some good. But at some point, Villa need to find out what they have in the local product. He may be the one Villa turn to if Grealish’s role needs replacing at some point in the future.