Report: Aston Villa coaches believe Joe Bennett and Nathan Baker can become key first-team players

Aston Villa coaches are reportedly backing Joe Bennett and Nathan Baker for big roles under Tim Sherwood.

According to the Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa coaches are confident that defenders Joe Bennett and Nathan Baker can become key first-team players.

Villa brought in 12 players this summer, and with five defenders arriving, manager Tim Sherwood had to make some room in his ranks - and that meant letting players leave.

Two players who departed Villa Park were Bennett and Baker, two defenders who have now moved out on loan until January and next summer respectively.

Left back Bennett, 25, has been in and out of the Villa side since his 2012 move from Middlesbrough, and spent last season on loan at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Championship before joining Bournemouth last week.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old centre back Baker - who penned a new contract with the club earlier this summer - has joined Bristol City on a season-long loan deal, with the defender now behind the likes of Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Tiago Ilori and Ciaran Clark in the pecking order at centre back.

Yet despite those moves, the Birmingham Mail report that Aston Villa's coaches are confident that both Bennett and Baker will become key first-team players under Sherwood in the future.

With Ilori only on loan and Lescott aged 33, Sherwood will certainly be hoping that Baker can make an impression in the long-term, and his loan to the Championship should aid his development rather than playing as a reserve at Villa.

For Bennett, it will take something special for him to displace Jordan Amavi in the near future, but the Frenchman's impressive performances so far may trigger future interest in his signature, so having a ready-made successor in Bennett may be a smart move from Villa - if he can live up to expectations of the Villa coaches.

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