Pil Thompson shocked by decision to substitute Jordan Lyden in Aston Villa defeat

The 20-year-old midfielder was taken off at half-time of Saturday's 2-1 loss to Bournemouth by caretaker manager Eric Black despite performing well during the opening 45 minutes.

Much like many Aston Villa fans, Sky Sports pundit Phil Thompson was left baffled by caretaker manager Eric Black’s decision to take off Jordan Lyden at half-time of Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Bournemouth.

The 20-year-old utility man was handed his first Premier League start for the visit of Eddie Howe’s side and put in a strong display in central midfielder over the opening 45 minutes, looking calm and composed on the ball while completing 16 of his 19 passes.

However, with Villa going 1-0 down just seconds before half-time to a Steve Cook goal, Black decided to make a change at the break, replacing the emerging Australian with striker Rudy Gestede – much to the chagrin of supporters.

The claret and blue faithful have been calling for the Scot to play the likes of Lyden and his fellow youngsters now relegation is all but inevitable, but their cries have so far fallen largely on deaf ears.

Black’s decision to start Leandro Bacuna, Kieran Richardson and some of the club’s other under-performing veterans on the day had already been met by widespread criticism, and Thompson could not understand why he did not take one of them off instead of risking denting the confidence of an up-and-coming prospect.

Speaking on Soccer Saturday after watching the game, the former Liverpool captain said: “I don’t think he was injured. He’s a young lad, 20 years of age, making his Premier League debut – I’m absolutely shocked. This is a side that should be blooding in youngsters. Grealish is another who should’ve been playing in this game, but he was on the touchline.

“There’s not a lot to play for. It’s literally done that they’re going down. They have to give these lads a chance. To take Lyden off I just thought was harsh. Yes, they want to bring Gestede on for a bit more impact in the final third but there are other players who should make way for him – some who are not going to be at this football club [next season]. That they got wrong.”

The introduction of Gestede ultimately failed to have the desired effect for Villa, as Josh King went on extend Bournemouth’s lead in the 74th-minute after taking advantage of a Ciaran Clark error, rendering Jordan Ayew’s 85th-minute goal nothing more than a consolation.

Norwich City’s 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace meant they avoided relegation until at least Sunday, but with the club sitting 15 points from safety at the foot of the table with five games left, they are virtually guaranteed to be playing Championship football next season.

As such, now seems like a valuable opportunity to blood the likes of Lyden into the side given that they could have big roles to play in the second tier, but it remains to be seen whether Black will be willing to take that approach at Manchester United next weekend.

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