By Jonty Banks

31st Mar, 2023 | 12:10pm

Kaine Kesler-Hayden can fill Matty Cash void at Aston Villa after injury news revealed

Kaine Kesler Hayden was touted as an Aston Villa academy player to watch at the beginning of the season, but things haven’t quite dropped his way since returning from his loan at Huddersfield Town in January.

The right-back made 15 appearances during his impressive loan spell with the Terriers during the first half of the season, but the 20-year-old has failed to feature in Unai Emery’s first team since.

However, with regular right-back Matty Cash picking up an injury while on international duty with Poland, the door has been left ajar for Kesler-Hayden to barge down.

As reported by Birmingham Live’s Ashley Preece, the club have pencilled in the Premier League fixture against Newcastle on 15 April as Cash’s likely return date – meaning a spot is up for grabs in the back-four for fixtures against Chelsea, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest over the next fortnight.

Although Ashley Young is likely to be the heavy favourite to fill such a void in the starting line-up – partly down to his rock-solid form this campaign, and secondly due to his experience of big games such as a trip to Stamford Bridge – Kesler-Hayden may be awarded the opportunity to feature from the bench.

The former MK Dons loanee, who Dan Bardell exclusively told Villa News reminded him of a certain Trent Alexander-Arnold, has all of the ingredients to be a Premier League full-back, given the right backing.

The England Under-20 international is a typical modern-day full-back: Attack-orientated, a wicked dribbler, and happy to venture into the final third to cause mischief.

For the trip to face Graham Potter’s team, siding with Young makes complete sense, but in the games against relegation-threatened sides Leicester City and Nottingham Forest, who are likely to sit back and make themselves hard to break down, starting an attacking full-back of Kesler-Hayden’s ilk could be necessary.

Emery would be foolish to ignore the next-gen star while his defensive stocks are in short supply and see if Kesler-Hayden has what it takes to step up to the Premier League’s exacting standards.

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton has backed a potential game-changing attacking deal for a Premier League attacker.