Aston Villa U21 player ratings v West Ham: Rory Hale and Khalid Abdo show their promise

Jack Grealish

Villa's youngsters beat the Hammers 3-2 at Villa Park on Monday night to secure a play-off spot in the U21 Premier League Division Two with one game to spare.

Matija Sarkic 7/10 – Couldn’t do much about either goal and had just one clear save to make during the opening stages. Impressed with his distribution and commanded his area well.

Joshua Webb 7/10 – Wasn’t involved in the attack as much as Borg but did a good job of locking down the right flank and limiting the influence of West Ham danger man Stephen Hendrie.

Easah Suliman 7/10 – The England Under-18 international showcased his much-touted potential with a strong and composed performance in the heart of the defence.

Kevin Toner 7/10 – Outpaced on West Ham’s second goal but was otherwise a real rock at the back, winning a number of headers and last-ditch tackles. Sent off late on for a strong challenge which prompted a brief fracas between the two teams.

Oscar Borg 7.5/10 – Making his U21 debut against his old club, the former Hammers trainee looked a real threat going forward and got back well to cover his position. It might not be long before he’s knocking on the door of the first-team.

Rory Hale 8.5/10 – Despite turning the ball over under pressure in the lead-up to West Ham’s opener, the Belfast native was the game’s standout performer. Dominated on both sides of the ball in central midfield and helped create the winner with a great weighted pass over the top.

Khalid Abdo 8/10 – Linked up with Grealish and Davis to open the scoring in the 12th-minute after winning possession in midfield and looked dangerous whenever he had the ball near the opposition area. Doesn’t seem to get talked about as much as some of his U21 teammates but deserves more attention based on this performance.

Adama Traore 6/10 – Aside from a couple of lung-bursting runs, it was a somewhat quiet night for the former Barcelona winger on his second start for the U21s since returning from a broken foot. Had a double effort saved and then blocked clear midway through the first half after being picked out by Green in the box.

Jack Grealish 7.5/10 – Showed great vision to help create both the first and second goal and buzzed around the final third all night. Withdrawn near the end after picking up a slight knock.

Andre Green 6.5/10 – Struggled to make an impact at times but threatened with his pace and kept his composure to slot home the second goal from close range.

Keinan Davis 7.5/10 – Didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet but served as an excellent focal point up top. Set up Abdo’s opener with a smart cutback pass and showed great persistence to pick out Green for the second.

SUBSTITUTES

Corey Blackett-Taylor (Adama 70) 7/10 – Showed some nice touches before popping up in the right place at the right time to slot home the 88th-minute winner.

Callum O’Hare (Green 83) 6.5/10 – His trickery in the box led to the rebound that Blackett-Taylor was on hand to finish.

Kelsey Mooney (Grealish 86) 6.5/10 – Helped create the winner with a neat ball from the left.

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