Morgan Sanson came on in the 77th minute versus Manchester City to make his first Premier League appearance since the 3-1 win against Fulham in April.
It was a short 13 minute cameo for the Frenchman but it was enough to both excite fans and provide them with an insight into the player he could become if he plays consistently. The start of his career at Aston Villa has been disrupted and stagnated but the glimpses of quality he showed against Manchester City have hinted that he could become a vital part of this squad moving forward.
He recorded three accurate passes, one tackle, one foul drawn and two duels won. It was a short snippet but he was able to display his quality on the ball and defensive work rate in a tough fixture, as City looked to kill the game off in the dying embers of the 90 minutes.
Sanson impressed the packed out Villa Park crowd with a smart turn away from two City players, outlining his technical ability that could prove to be incredibly useful in implementing Gerrard’s style of play moving forward. He also equalled a team high for progressive carries in this fixture with four. Emiliano Buendia, John McGinn and Ollie Watkins also recorded this figure but all of these players started the game, in comparison to the 13 minutes Sanson played.
Gerrard has stated that the former Marseille midfielder will be “a big player for us” and it is clear to see why. He has both the defensive work tenacity and ability in possession to implement Gerrard’s philosophy perfectly.
The well documented issue with Sanson is his ability to stay fit. Since arriving for £14 million last January he has made just ten appearances in a Villa shirt and every time he has looked to be finding his feet, he is sadly held back by injuries.
This was clearly shown when he started the Carabao Cup fixture against Chelsea. In 42 minutes of action he recorded one key pass, one big chance created, won all six of his ground duels and recorded three tackles. It was an impressive performance against the Champions League winners but he was forced off with a hamstring injury close to half-time.
He is without a doubt a quality player and if he can stay fit, he will have the same impact that a new signing would have at the club. He is perfectly suited to enhance the way Villa play and execute Gerrard’s game plan to perfection. It was a small sample but it was more than enough to excite fans moving forward.