Louie Barry is no longer Aston Villa’s best kept secret
What did you do most Friday nights when you were 17?
Did you score against the Premier League champions when you started at the club, you’ve supported your entire life, walking down the Villa Park tunnel past Fabinho to ask for your shirt or being told by Jurgen Klopp that you look like to a young Jamie Vardy?
That’s what 17-year-old Aston Villa forward Louie Barry did on Friday.
The teenager was already making a lot of noise in Midlands football circles, having progressed through the West Brom youth system. Such was his talent, Barcelona called at the age of 16 and Barry spent five months training at the club’s prestigious La Masia academy.
In January 2020 he moved to Aston Villa for £ 880,000. West Brom is still a little bored.
Naturally, there has been a buzz around Barry in the Villa quarters for a good 12 months – as it would be when you pay just under £ 1million for a 16 year old from Barcelona. There were calls for him to parachute into the first team towards the end of the 2019/20 campaign as Dean Smith’s side struggled with the downfall, but the club were keen to temper expectations and he stayed at Bodymoor Heath, Villa’s best kept secret.
It is no longer so secret.
A COVID-19 outbreak within Villa’s first team on the eve of their FA Cup third round clash against Liverpool has resulted in the selection of the Under-23 and Under-18 squad.
The youngsters at Villa put on a spirited performance, going along with the Premier League champions for the better part of an hour before finally succumbing to a 4-1 defeat. There were remarkable performances on the pitch; Goalkeeper Akos Onodi made some superb saves, while the central defensive partnership of Dominic Revan and Mungo Bridge really caught the eye.
But it was Barry who stole the headlines with a fabulously caught goal to tie the game in the first half and a healthy full-time post-match interview.
The young forward – leading the line on his own – grabbed a wonderfully weighted cross ball from 21-year-old ‘veteran’ left-back Callum Rowe, climbed behind the Liverpool backline, rocked Rhys Williams and then stroked the ball. Caoimhin Kelleher with all the calm in the world.
His petite stature coupled with his behind pace and instinctive, curling finish was a teenage Michael Owen-esque.
Barry was a complete nuisance upstairs. Before finding the net, he had already got the better of Fabinho and embarked on an adventurous foray to win a corner at Villa.
“Little Jamie Vardy was a real threat,” Klopp told TalkSport with a smile full-time.
When Barry was born, Vardy had just been released by Sheffield Wednesday and was starting his life on the Stocksbridge Park Steels youth team. We don’t think Barry will have to wait that long for his big break at the top.