If you want to talk about hard work, then the physical embodiment of it is Keinan Davis. Written off at Stevenage’s Academy, Davis trekked to Biggleswade to make a name for himself. He did, and then Villa came in for him. As a depth player, Davis pushed forward to earn a cameo performance at the close of the 16/17 season.
He looked every bit of the type of player that Villa needed. Very much like Jonathan Kodjia, but tucked deeper into the field, and willing to pass the ball into space. He seemed like a bit of gem, but nobody expected him to see the pitch as much as he did last season - after being called into the squad following an injury crisis, Davis almost threatened to claim the sole-striker position for his own. However, Davis fell to his own injury after battling for a large part of the season, becoming slightly forgotten as Villa chased towards a play-off position and the Premier League. It’s slightly sad to think that Davis’ contributions are now looked over, simply because he didn’t score a lot of goals.
The truth is this - Davis isn’t there to tuck the ball away. He’s there to put it on a plate for others to do so, and that’s always been clear. However, a few more goals won’t hurt his cause, nor Villa’s.
If you want more truth, look to the fact that Davis wasn’t a player we expected to ever start an Aston Villa game, or score a goal for Villa. Write him off if you dare, he’s here to stay - and he’s one to watch as Villa look to focus on their wing play this season. Him setting up Andre Green is the stuff of dreams.