Maybe Aston Villa have got James Bree all wrong.
A £3 million signing from Barnsley in January 2017, the Wakefield-born defender made just 21 Championship appearances in two years for Villa with his performances at right-back proving distinctly underwhelming.
Towards the end of Steve Bruce’s ill-fated tenure, Bree even slipped to third in the pecking order behind Ahmed Elmohamady and the veteran Alan Hutton.
But, after joining Luton Town on a temporary deal, the 21-year-old appears to be enjoying a new lease of life. Bree made his home debut at Kenilworth Road during Tuesday’s 3-1 Carabao Cup victory against, ironically enough, an Ipswich Town side Bree spent time on loan at during the second half of last season.
The youngster didn’t play in his usual right-back position, however. Instead, former West Brom assistant Graeme Jones handed Bree a chance on the right of a back three – and the manager was rewarded with arguably the defender’s best performance since his formative years at Barnsley.
In truth, Bree looked far more at home in a central role than he ever did on the flanks at Aston Villa. So this is something for Dean Smith to keep in mind.
Good result, some good performances too, particularly Bree, Brown and Bolton. Bree was excellent. Cornick ran his socks off all night. We looked a bit vulnerable at times though but good game time for some of the players— Andy (@ajfkosovo) August 13, 2019
@Jamesbree_97 u was quality tonight a great signing we have got with u and unlucky not to score near the end with ur header. Very composed on the ball and love a tackle. Done well getting forward and tracking back hope ur there Saturday COYH ⚽️— STEVE (@SteveLTFC1) August 13, 2019
Absolutely, should replace Lee in the No10 role. Also think Bree deserves a chance and replace Cranie at RB. A number of players showed they could step up last night, Cornick was a handful, Jones was Strong in defence, Bolton was solid, and Berry played the DM role well— Peter Appleyard (@Pete_LTFC) August 14, 2019
Went into it worried about our depth in defensive cover for the season - left feeling great - thought Bree was magnificent - pleased he's versatile enough to be a CB too. Like you was blown away by Izzy Brown - he could play a massive role for us this season - Bolton did well too— Ben Bowdler-Thomas ️+ (@benjackthomas) August 13, 2019
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