By Daniel Lewis

18th Sep, 2023 | 9:10am

Jhon Duran deserving of Aston Villa start as Europa Conference League campaign gets under way

Jhon Duran made quite the impact from the bench for Aston Villa in their 3-1 comeback win against Crystal Palace in the Premier League at the weekend.

The Colombia international rifled home spectacularly just 16 minutes after being introduced to level up for the Villans in Saturday’s [16 September] contest at Villa Park.

That was Duran’s third goal for the club since joining from Chicago Fire in January, each of those strikes coming this season in six – mainly substitute – appearances in all competitions.

With a Sofascore rating of 7.6, only Douglas Luiz (8.2) ranked higher than Duran among Aston Villa players against Palace.

The 19-year-old has plenty of competition ahead of him, but he has surely now done enough to warrant a starting place for Thursday’s [21 September] trip to Legia Warszawa.

Unai Emery intends to take the Europa Conference League seriously, and starting Duran is hardly going to weaken the side given the Colombian’s current form.

Indeed, Duran’s 2.86 goals per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season is bettered by only three other players in the division [FBref] – and two of those have only featured once.

Those figures are skewered by the fact Duran has played just an hour in total, but it shows that the Medellin native has fully taken his opportunities when they have arrived.

Duran has also won his only two aerial duels this season, while he also has a 100 per cent success rate when it comes to successful dribbles (1/1), as per FBref.

Now seems like the right time to give the youngster an opportunity to show what he is capable of from the beginning of a game, with squad rotation key for Emery ahead of a quickfire run of matches.

On the basis of what we have seen so far this season, Duran will no doubt take that chance with both hands.

In other Aston Villa news, Gary Lineker, Danny Murphy and Alan Shearer each felt the Villans were fortunate in their win against Palace.