Aston Villa midfielder Jordan Veretout shows promise in Stoke defeat

The 22-year-old Frenchman stood out as one of few bright spots for Tim Sherwood's men in Saturday's 1-0 loss at Villa Park.

Few Aston Villa players gave a good account of themselves in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Stoke City but Jordan Veretout is at least one who deserves some recognition for his performance.

The 22-year-old midfielder joined Villa from Nantes in July for around £8 million with a reputation as one of French football’s most exciting talents but, after flattering to deceive in his first two starts, he was forced to spend the next five Premier League games on the bench.

Nevertheless, a strong display in last month’s 1-0 Capital One Cup win over Birmingham City seemed to suggest that he was starting to put things together and, after following up that 90-minute outing with a bright cameo in the 3-2 loss at Liverpool, manager Tim Sherwood was convinced enough to bring him back into the line-up for Stoke’s visit.

His introduction ultimately failed to get Villa the result they wanted on the afternoon but, among a group of poor performers on the home side, the Frenchman stood out alongside skipper Micah Richards as an obvious bright spot.

 Vs Stoke Total ShotsKey PassesTotal PassesPassing AccuracyTotal DribblesTotal TacklesDuels WonDuel SuccessTouchesBall RecoveriesDispossessedMins Played
Jordan Veretout 3 2 62 90% 5 3 9 45% 82 7 0 90

As well as consistently impressing on both sides of the ball, the former Under-21 international was about the only player who seemed keen to move things forward, as he created two scoring chances and made a couple of driving runs into the opposition box.

In addition, the versatile midfielder also recorded three shots, three tackles, five dribbles and seven recoveries over the course of the match, as well as winning nine duels and completing an impressive 90 per cent of his 62 passes.

Having previously been compared to Aaron Ramsey in playing style after notching seven goals and seven assists in 36 Ligue 1 games last season, the test now will be to see whether he can start to produce the goods in the final third over the coming weeks and months but, at this point, it's just reassuring to see the ex-Nantes ace start to show his worth following some initial struggles.

Things are obviously looking grim at Villa at the moment while they sit 18th in the table with just four points from eight games but, in the likes of Veretout, Jordan Amavi, Jack Grealish, Adama Traore and Carles Gil, fans can take comfort in the fact that the talent is all there to pull them out of trouble.

However, with a tough set of fixtures coming up after the international break, whether Sherwood's revamped squad will be able to gel in time to avoid a sixth successive relegation battle remains to be seen.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch