Could Aston Villa's Spanish winger finally get the chance to really flourish at the club?
Tim Sherwood has proved already in his short managerial career that if you are good enough you are old enough for a place in his first-team, both at his former club Tottenham Hotspur and now at Aston Villa.
So it was a big surprise when Sherwood opted to omit 22-year-old Carles Gil from his plans as he sought to guide Villa way from the bottom-three last season.
In the end the Villa boss did that with relative ease, his methods fully justified, but that does not mean the Spaniard has no future at Villa Park. In fact given that the club are now starting on an even footing with their 19 fellow top-flight clubs, this could be a huge campaign for Gil.
Sherwood certainly implied the player would feature more regularly in a recent interview with Villa’s official website, saying, “He is going to play a lot more football this year because we’re not in that situation where it’s a relegation battle.”
And following impressive showings in the recent pre-season clashes against Fulham and Braga, could Villa fans be about to get what they have been calling out for?
In his seven competitive first-team appearances for Villa so far, Gil has shown what he is capable of, displaying a kind of creativity and confidence that cannot be taught.
There is no doubt the Villa youngster has innate talent and as Sherwood showed with Jack Grealish and (to a lesser extent) Rushian Hepburn-Murphy last season, and the likes of Nabil Bentaleb back at White Hart Lane, he is not afraid to put his hopes – and the team’s fortunes – in younger players.
Gil is showing during pre-season that he wants to play a significant role next season and for him, Sherwood and the Villa faithful, hopefully this will truly be his breakout campaign.