If Aston Villa get James Bree loan move right in January they could reap the rewards for years

A general view of the ground prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Cardiff City at Villa Park on November 26, 2016 in Birmingham, England.

The Aston Villa defender has barely got a look-in this season.

James Bree of Aston Villa during the Pre-Season Friendly between AFC Telford United and Aston Villa at New Bucks Head Stadium on July 12, 2017 in Telford, England.

When Aston Villa signed James Bree from Barnsley last season, it was seen as a savvy long-term investment for a player with massive potential. Yet a year on the 20-year-old has managed only 12 first-team appearances for Steve Bruce's side and it is hard to see him adding to that any time soon.

With Alan Hutton returning from the cold and Ahmed Elmohamady a more than able deputy Villa would be wise to send their fellow right-back Bree out on loan in January and, if they get it right, Bruce's club could reap the rewards for years to come.

David Henen of Fleetwood Town is tackled by James Bree of Barnsley during the Johnstone's Paint Trophy northern section semi final second leg match between Fleetwood Town and Barnsley at...

Bree is not a talent that should be written off after a single season.  In fact, he is a player Villa should be ensuring gets the game time he requires in the coming months to continue the fine development he showed at the Tykes, where he racked up 61 matches as a teenager.

Bree may not have impressed all Villa's supporters with some shaky performances during his first few months at the club, but he was always going to take time to settle in his new surroundings, while the pressure of playing for a side desperate to return to the top flight at the first time of asking should not be understated.

Steve Bruce manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Aston Villa at iPro Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Derby, England.

Of course Villa failed in that regard, yet they are looking far better this time round, leaving Bree on the outside looking in.

If Bruce picks a loan club where the defender can play week in, week out and rediscover the form that earned him a move to Villa in the first place, he could also ensure that Bree returns to the Villans with the bit between his teeth next summer.

Then Villa fans could see the real player and, whatever division they find themselves, in, he could prove his worth for years to come.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch