Kaine Kesler-Hayden future thrown into more doubt after bizarre Unai Emery decision v Leicester City
The summer chopping block could now await Aston Villa academy right-back Kaine Kesler-Hayden after Unai Emery once again omitted him from the matchday squad against Leicester City.
When Matty Cash picked up an injury while on international duty with Poland last week, it was widely expected that England Under-20 international would step up from the academy to fill this glaring void.
However, for Villa’s trip to the King Power Stadium, which ended in a hard-fought 2-1 win, Kesler-Hayden was left out of the travelling squad in place of fellow academy left-back Seb Revan.
Such a decision meant that Emery had just one right-back in his match-day squad but three left-backs and three goalkeepers – including 21-year-old stopper Viljami Sinisalo.
Although the Spanish manager may just have been looking to give Revan a flavour of first-team action after captaining the Villa Under-21s successfully this season, leaving Kesler-Hayden out of the loop while Cash has been sidelined remains a bizarre decision.
During loan spells at MK Dons last season and Huddersfield in the early stages of this campaign, the 20-year-old defender highlighted his undoubted Premier League quality.
A fruitful December with the Terriers saw Kesler-Hayden score the winner against Preston on Boxing Day and pick up a decisive assist a few days later, as well as being named in the Championship team of the month.
Since strangely having his loan move cut short in January amid Huddersfield’s impending relegation battle, the English youth international has continued his development at Bodymoor Heath.
However, plying his trade with the Young Lions looks to have been a waste of time.
Having cracked both League One and the Championship, what Kesler-Hayden needs is a proper stint with the Villa first team to see if he can rise to the pressure and expectation.
But Emery’s lack of trust in the youngster over the last fortnight provides yet more evidence that the former MK Dons loanee could be shipped on in the summer transfer window for fresh options in the right-back position.
He may have to start packing his bags already.