By Anthony Onifade

11th Sep, 2023 | 12:10pm

Matty Cash to return to Aston Villa with tail between his legs as Polish newspaper reacts to performance v Albania

Aston Villa defender Matty Cash has undergone an eventful start to the campaign so far but the international break has not gone down well which means he’ll return to Villa Park in concerning form.

Cash has proven a crucial commodity in the Aston Villa side in recent seasons after some mature, assured and dominant performances at right-back since his move from Nottingham Forest in 2020.

The latter stages of the 2022/23 campaign was something of an unfortunate struggle for the Polish international, suffering from injuries and a lack of form which hampered his progress both at club and international level.

However, this season the former Nottingham Forest man has proven somewhat of a mixed bag for the Pole international.

After some brilliant displays most notably against Burnley, Everton and the second-leg Europa Conference League qualifying tie against Hibernian, the 26-year-old has also struggled to contain and maintain which has now been carried forward into the international break.

His best performance certainly came against the Clarets in their 3-1 as he recorded two goals but also showed up in an eventful performance, winning seven of his duels, successfully completing two of his dribbles, recording two clearances, three tackles and three blocks [SofaScore].

He took both his goals excellently with the instinctive finishing of a seasoned striker and could have ended the game with five goals to his name.

However, the performance against Liverpool at Anfield on 3 September left a lot to be desired despite fulfilling an unfamiliar role for Unai Emery on the right wing.

He was extremely unfortunate to finish with an own goal, when Darwin Nunez’s fierce strike cannoned off the post, rebounded into Cash, and bundled into the goal.

By the end of the 3-0 defeat, though, Cash’s numbers did not make for great reading.

According to stats provided by SofaScore, He had a pass completion rate of only 74 per cent, while failing to attempt any crosses and not finishing with any key passes.

Moreover, he had just one shot – which was off target – and failed with his one dribble attempt, while he lost possession on nine separate occasions.

He did win four of his seven duels, an area where his right-back instincts perhaps helped. But the result and performance will not have helped his confidence one bit, and Emery would have expected him to regain his mojo again while on international duty with Poland.

However, that hasn’t proved fruitful which is incredibly concerning with Aston Villa facing some crucial tests when the players return this week.

The 26-year-old full-back was nowhere to be seen in the starting eleven for Poland in their 2-0 win over Faroe Islands [Polish Press, 24Kurier, 8 September] as he sat through the whole game on the bench. Whatever reasons for that maybe, will have certainly left Emery with plenty of questions.

Though, Cash did return for their next encounter against Albania on Sunday 10 September but Poland were easily defeated 2-0 on the night with the Aston Villa right-back once again given the role of a right-winger and Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy (10 September) certainly didn’t hold back in their criticism, handing Cash a 4/10 rating:

“He returned to the squad after a long international break. Many people wondered why Santos did not designate him to play on Thursday. He must have gathered all his strength for Tirana. He deserved an award. Cash played a decent match, the right side was very active, but what’s the point if it didn’t bring any result.”

While Cash certainly wasn’t one of the worst performers in the team, this result certainly won’t boost his morale and confidence one bit and his stats on the night certainly showed a player still probably affected by the events at Anfield before the break.

In his 90 minutes on the pitch for Poland, Cash completed just 27 of his 37 passes, failed to complete any of his three crosses, successfully completed two of his five long balls, won just nine of his 17 total duels at a success rate of 52% and lost possession of the ball a whopping 22 times whilst being dribbled past twice [SofaScore] against a not-so-strong Albanian team.

Certainly, the Spaniard will want him fresh when the Premier League campaign resumes after the break but after what’s been a stunning rise in the Polish team for him since he changed his allegiance and was first picked in 2021, his inconsistent starts during the calendar year will not do his confidence any favours.

Cash will now return to Villa Park this week with his tail caught between his legs after a torrid international period. It’s up to him whether he’ll immediately pick himself up again for their crucial Premier League encounter on Saturday 16 September.

In other Aston Villa news, one Villa Park wonder will now use his international exposure as a tool to develop fully into a Premier League star.