ICYMI: Aston Villa attacking midfielder Cal O’Hare is set for three months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage. Such a timeline puts him in position to miss the very beginnings of next season’s EFL Championship campaign.
Callum O’Hare’s name has been a popular one ever since his first-team debut last September in the EFL Cup. In which, the then-19-year old threw down a master display, a full 90 minutes as Villa downed Colchester United.
Since, nearly every supporter has argued at least once that O’Hare deserves more involvement in the team. In total, the creative forward made eight appearances, mostly as a substitute. With Jack Grealish potentially on the move to the Premier League, Josh Onomah heading back to Tottenham, and Henri Lansbury barely playing at all this season, O’Hare was thought of as a potential starting option in the number ten hole. He still might be, but those chances took a serious hit earlier this week.
As if recent news could not get any possibly worse, it inevitably did. O’Hare is one of the few in the squad capable of ball-carrying duties in midfield. We saw it in the play-off final. Without Jack Grealish there to relieve pressure on the ball, Aston Villa would have wilted earlier and far worse than they actually did last Saturday.
O’Hare is small, but he plays strong, consistently out-maneuvering opposition with a low center of gravity and quick movement. In addition to being a certified central attacking midfielder, O’Hare also possesses the ability to play out wide – specifically on the right wing, where Villa options are nearly nonexistent. Robert Snodgrass is back to West Ham United, Albert Adomah enjoyed a good season at left wing (though, André Green’s return could revert him to the right).
If Grealish leaves, O’Hare is one of the options to help shoulder the attacking load. With a serious knee injury, and a crucial pre-season lost, that scenario becomes a bit more murky. For a club lacking an offensive spark, O’Hare’s early loss complicates matters further.