The 22-year-old Frenchman produced a lively display in Tuesday night's 1-0 Capital One Cup third round win at Villa Park.
The 22-year-old Frenchman was given the chance to start Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup third round clash with Birmingham City at Villa Park and proceeded to justify his selection with a highly encouraging performance in the centre of the park.
After a solid but somewhat quiet first half, the former Under-21 international came to life after the break when manager Tim Sherwood elected to switch things up, as he did a superb job of linking the midfield with the attack and made several probing runs into the Birmingham box as the hosts asserted their dominance.
Constantly looking to move forward, his positive play ultimately helped open up the opposition defence en route to a 1-0 win, while his influence on both sides of the ball also showed up in his match statistics.
|Vs Birmingham||Total Shots||Shots Ontarget||Key Passes||Total Passes||Passing Accuracy||Total Tackles||Tackle Accuracy||Interceptions||Touches||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
In his 90-minute run-out, the versatile midfielder completed 80 per cent of his match-leading 69 passes – 14 more than any other player on the night, while also recording two key passes and winning all four of his tackles.
In addition, he also produced two interceptions and was dispossessed just once, despite having the most touches of the football in the game with 80.
Previously considered one of the French top-flight's most exciting youngsters after enjoying a breakout 2014-15 season at Nantes, in which he racked up seven goals and season assists in 36 appearances, it was the kind of showing Villa fans had been waiting to see from the £8 million man and the test will now be to see whether he can keep up the same level of performance over the coming weeks.
His first four games for the club were largely underwhelming overall but, at only 22 and in the process of adapting to the English game, it's no surprise that there were a few initial teething problems prior to the Blues bout.
His derby display certainly proved that he can handle the big occasions and, with Saturday presenting a trip to Liverpool for Sherwood's men, he looks to have made an excellent case for a second consecutive start at Anfield.