O’Hare has given boss a big nudge

Birmingham Post - - SPORT -

CAL­LUM O’Hare re­sponded in the best pos­si­ble way to be­ing omit­ted from Villa’s squad to face Blues with a scin­til­lat­ing dis­play for the Un­der-23s.

O’Hare was left out of the se­nior squad for the first time since the game at Barns­ley in Septem­ber as Steve Bruce opted for an ex­pe­ri­enced bench at St An­drew’s.

But the boss will find it hard to leave the young­ster out af­ter watch­ing him smash a hat-trick against New­cas­tle on Mon­day night.

Jack Gre­al­ish and Henri Lans­bury, both of whom are di­rect com­peti­tors to O’Hare, were also in­volved and all three tor­mented the Mag­pies as Villa claimed a 6-0 vic­tory.

But it was O’Hare who shone bright­est and there is a grow­ing de­mand for him to be given more first-team min­utes.

De­spite reg­u­larly tak­ing time out to wax lyri­cally about O’Hare, Bruce has only handed him 43 min­utes of Cham­pi­onship ac­tion. “You can see Cal­lum O’Hare’s ex­u­ber­ance and en­ergy im­me­di­ately,” he said.

“You only have to watch him for a few min­utes to spot that. When you look at his body lan­guage, you can tell he loves the game. His in­fec­tious en­thu­si­asm is there for ev­ery­one to see. We have been very, very pleased with him.”

Cameos off the bench against Cardiff and Wolves have come as a re­sult of his bril­liance in the Carabao Cup. O’Hare was a stand­out per­former in matches against Colch­ester, Wi­gan and Mid­dles­brough to earn a reg­u­lar place in the squad.

Mean­while, young­ster Jor­dan Ly­den is be­ing tracked by a num­ber of League One clubs ahead of the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow.

The 21-year-old has been in su­perb form for the Un­der-23s this sea­son but has seen his first-team op­por­tu­ni­ties lim­ited.

How­ever, the Aussie mid­fielder’s five goals in nine ap­pear­ances for Kevin Mac­Don­ald’s de­vel­op­ment side this sea­son haven’t gone un­no­ticed.

Black­burn and Northamp­ton watched the Un­der-23s thrash New­cas­tle 6-0 on Mon­day night, while it is un­der­stood League One lead­ers Shrews­bury are also keen ad­mir­ers.

Ly­den re­cently ad­mit­ted he would con­sider a tem­po­rary switch away from Villa Park.

Scot­tish Pre­mier­ship sides are also look­ing at Ly­den, whose Villa con­tract ex­pires at the end of next sea­son.

Three Pre­mier League clubs sent scouts to the Banks’s Sta­dium for another glimpse of Mac­Don­ald’s Pre­mier League 2 high-fly­ers too.

Of Mon­day night’s start­ing XI, only goal­keeper Vik­tor Jo­hans­son, 17-year-old Ja­cob Bedeau and Harry McKirdy, who scored against New­cas­tle, haven’t made their first-team de­buts.

O’Hare and Jake Doyle-Hayes, 18, who was also on tar­get, are now train­ing reg­u­larly with the first team and both were re­warded with lu­cra­tive new con­tracts re­cently.

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