Jores Okore's comeback performance for Aston Villa's U21s earns praise

The 23-year-old defender saw his first action since summer knee surgery in Monday's 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.

Aston Villa Under-21 manager Gordon Cowans has praised the fit-again Jores Okore for his comeback performance in last night’s 1-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion.

Cowans was speaking to AVTV after seeing a late Andre Wright goal condemn his side to defeat at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium, where Okore managed to last the full 90 minutes in his first appearance since undergoing a knee operation in the summer.

Despite the result, the Danish centre-back produced a strong showing in the heart of the defence and his manager on the night was more than pleased with his contribution after several months on the sidelines.

“It was very positive and everyone’s very happy that Jores has come through it after the long-term injury he’s had again,” said Cowans, who made 527 appearances in three separate spells at Villa.

“He’s done well, come through it and I thought he played well, too.”

 2014-15 Premier League GoalsTotal Tackles GAMETackle AccuracyTotal Clearances GAMEHeaders Won GAMEHeader SuccessInterceptions GAMEPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Jores Okore 1 2.22 75% 6.48 2.09 56.47% 2.83 86% 23 2,009

Okore, 23, has made 32 total appearances for Villa since signing from Danish Superliga outfit FC Nordsjælland in June 2013 for around £4 million, but he missed most of his first season in the Midlands after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament just four games into his claret and blue career.

However, after returning to fitness ahead of last term, the Denmark international managed to force himself back into former boss Paul Lambert’s side a few months into the campaign and went on to start 11 of successor Tim Sherwood’s 16 games in charge during the run-in.

Further knee problems forced him to go under the knife for a second time following the 4-0 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal, though, and he has just returned to full training in recent weeks.

Sherwood expects the promising stopper to be back in first-team contention after the coming international break but, with Villa’s depth at centre-half, it remains to be seen how much action he will see in the immediate future.

Skipper Micah Richards, Ciaran Clark and new signing Joleon Lescott will all provide stern competition for minutes, while Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori is also looking to break into the senior setup.

The eight-time capped Dane’s performances last season suggest that he has a bright future at Villa Park but, at the moment, it’s hard to see where he is going to fit into the line-up unless Sherwood opts to go with a three-man backline.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch