Is Paul Lambert ready to gamble with a teenage defender?

Teenage defender Josh Webb has been handed a chance he would never have expected as he heads out to Germany for Aston Villa’s pre-season tour.

The 17-year-old has been called up to Aston Villa’s pre-season tour of Germany following an injury to Jores Okore in the 1-1 draw against SV Rodinghausen.

It provides him with a chance to impress Paul Lambert, a manager who has a very strong recent history of using younger players in important matches for Aston Villa in all competitions.

It’s definitely something he should thrive on because some good pre-season performances could go a long way to Lambert including the youngster in his plans at the start of the new season.

Of course, it’s a huge risk for Lambert to take, especially with the Premier League but there is no reason Webb can’t work his way into the first team squad for the early stages of the domestic cup competitions for the club.

Okore seems to have been withdrawn as nothing more than a precautionary measure so it’s really important Webb grasps this chance with both hands if he wants to fast track his way from the youth ranks into the senior side.

Webb should take confidence from his performances for the club in the NextGen series and the general fact that he’s played in Aston Villa’s youth teams way beyond his years against bigger and stronger opponents.

He also has experience at Under-17 level with England which is significant because it ensures that he’s not much of a stranger to pressure.

The tour could also provide him with an opportunity to try and force a loan move out to a football league side as Lambert may be unwilling to include him in any senior plans because of his age.

He could show a lot of skill and talent on the pre-season tour but the fact Villa have just come off the back of a relegation fight in the top flight and an exit from the League Cup to Bradford City, could force Lambert into withdrawing from any gambles at all next season.

A loan deal would also present him with the opportunity to work hard and eventually return to Aston Villa as a better defender than the player who left.

There is no substitute for first team experience and some good performances in the pre-season friendly games could force Lambert into a line of thinking that it would be better if he could play football regularly elsewhere.

Either way it should do his confidence the world of good and as long as he gets his head down, works hard and plays well, Lambert will always be the sort of manager who will eventually give him a chance.

Do you know much about him? Is a loan deal a good option or should the club leave him in the youth ranks?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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