Louie Barry has been making headlines in League Two.
The 20-year-old who burst onto the scene so memorably by scoring for Villa in the FA Cup against Liverpool’s senior stars in January 2021, has been tearing up the fourth tier on loan at Stockport County this season.
Barry’s starring role has been recognized, as he was named the EFL Young Player of the Month for September, as well as being named the League Two Player of the Month.
Delighted to have won League Two player of the month and EFL young player of the month❤️ Wouldn’t have been able to achieve it if it wasn’t for my teammates, all the staff and you fans pic.twitter.com/qOzDhPidDz— Louie Barry (@LouieBarry6) October 13, 2023
The youngster, who has nearly 100 pro games under his belt already for Villa and several EFL clubs, has seven goals and two assists in 13 appearances so far for Stockport, who are on a six-game winning streak thanks largely to his exploits.
It’s fair to say that Barry is a well-travelled young man, moving from West Brom to Barcelona to Aston Villa and having a number of loan moves. What was the general perception within the Stockport County fan base when you signed him?
He was certainly a player we’d been impressed by when he’d played for Salford last season, so he’d have been on the radar of a lot of fans already. For me, I’d spent the last few years signing him on Football Manager so was probably more excited about his signing than I was the Nick Powell one!
We were seven minutes away from promotion at Wembley last season, so it was clear we just needed a minor improvement to take that extra step this time around. The general agreement was that we lacked two things: pace and someone who can help break down stubborn sides - two of his best qualities. For those reasons alone we were pretty much unanimous in our delight at the signing.
League Two is an extremely physical league and at 20, Barry is still young and developing. Do you think he is ready to hold his own in physically demanding games for the entirety of the season?
Given we’ve had a ridiculous number of injuries already this season, with up to 10 players out at points, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how robust he’s been. We play a very high-energy pressing game and he’s been up to the task each and every week. The only negative is that he gets knackered and fades around the hour mark, but he’s certainly not unique in that.
Barry has clearly settled in quickly at Stockport, producing seven goals and two assists prior to October. Why do you think the young forward has hit the ground running so quickly this term?
It’s largely down to him being the missing piece in the jigsaw, he gets given the freedom to go out and create something, and has proved himself to be a massive handful. He’s been playing in a front two as well, when many would have expected him to be coming in off the left wing. That could all change now that last season’s top scorer Kyle Wootton is back from a seven-month layoff, so it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to playing off a target man.
How far do you think Barry can go this season with Stockport County?
The early signs are very good. The main worry at the moment though is the prospect of him being recalled in January to facilitate another loan higher up the pyramid. We seem to have a good relationship with yourselves after the way former Villa youngster Arjan Raikhy was managed whilst at Edgeley Park.
What would you say to Aston Villa fans who haven’t been following Louie Barry’s progress while being out on loan this season?
Be cautiously optimistic. From what I read when he signed, there seemed to be a consensus that he’d not developed as quickly as some of your other youngsters, but there’s no reason why he can’t use this loan spell to push on and get closer to the first team.
It’s still very early days, but do you think he has the attributes to climb up the divisions in English football and potentially play in the Premier League one day?
Without a shadow of a doubt. At bare minimum, I’d expect him to become a solid Championship player, but the next 18 months or so will be crucial in his development. He’s certainly got the raw attributes and seems to be adding consistency to his game, so here’s hoping it continues.