Aston Villa coach Gordon Cowans raves about Adama Traore's qualities

The 19-year-old winger made his Villa debut for Cowans' Under-21 side in Monday night's 1-0 win over Derby.

Aston Villa Under-21s manager Gordon Cowans has lavished praise on Adama Traore following the 19-year-old winger’s performance in Monday night’s 1-0 victory over Derby County.

Cowans was speaking to AVTV after watching Traore go the full 90 minutes in his side’s U21 Premier League clash against the Rams at St George’s Park, in which the former Barcelona product combined with Carles Gil to help set up Jack Grealish’s first-half winner.

The game was the ex-Spain Under-19 international’s first for the club since last week’s £7 million move from the Nou Camp and his Barca qualities were clear for all to see on the night, as he wowed throughout with his blistering pace and dribbling prowess.

That should come as little surprise given how he established himself as one of the Spanish giants’ top prospects in recent seasons and, after witnessing his first run-out on English soil, Cowans is adamant that Villa have a special talent on their hands.

“It was very encouraging,” said Cowans, who himself made 527 appearances for Villa across three spells between 1976 and 1994. “His pace is absolutely frightening. He stops people, stands them still and then just blows right past them.

“You just can’t live with his pace, and he’s got a lot of quality as well. He put some great balls in the box.

“It’s fantastic [that we’ve signed him]. Again, the lad’s pace is frightening but he’s got the ability to go with that as well.

“I’m sure it’ll take a little bit of time for him to settle down and get used to English style of football but he’s got a lot to offer.”

Born in Barcelona to Malian parents, Traore made his La Liga debut in November 2013 after rising through the ranks of the famed La Masia, but he would go on to make just three further senior appearances over the next 18 months due to the strong competition for places.

The skilful wide man was able to showcase his talent for the club’s B team in the Spanish second tier, however, racking up eight goals and 18 assists in 63 Segunda Division games over the past two seasons, while also completing an outstanding 243 successful dribbles last term – 63 more than any other player in Europe [h/t Opta].

Now joining Tim Sherwood’s revamped squad as Villa’s 10th summer addition, the claret and blue faithful are no doubt salivating at the thought of an attack featuring their latest signing alongside Gil and Grealish, especially given how well the fledgling trio linked up during Monday’s win.

The latter pair have missed the first two Premier League matches of the campaign after picking up injuries in pre-season but, after starring for Cowans’ side, it looks like both are now primed for a first-team return.

“I thought Jack and Carles really controlled the game for us in the first-half,” Cowans added after the game. “They kept the ball well, kept the game moving and kept possession really well.”

It's unlikely that all three start Saturday’s game at Crystal Palace but, going forward, a three-man line of Traore, Grealish and Gil behind a lone striker sounds like it could well be the future for Sherwood's Villa.

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