Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)

With the international break well underway, and Football Manager 2018’s release just a few days ago – we’re sure many a Villa fan is attempting to get the Claret and Blue back to the promised land as their first save.

The number of players that are promising for the future in Villa’s squad is heavy, but getting the most out of them is as important as keeping the players with influence in your squad like Terry and Chester, happy.

Here’s our guide on utilising some of your stars in Football Manager 2018.

Keinan Davis


At the start of the save, the likes of Jonothan Kodjia and Scott Hogan, as well as Jack Grealish, Andre Green and Mile Jedinak are all injured. This forces you into a tough situation where you have to make the most of what you have.

Keinan Davis starts the game rated at two-and-a-half stars, but has the potential to be a five-star player if you use him correctly, give him game time and get his training spot on.

We’re using him as a Target Man in a front three, which seems to be working well.

In pre-season Keinan played eight games and scored seven goals, whilst providing two assists. He has played nine games for us in the Championship so far, scoring five goals and assisting in two, with an average rating of 7.4. He’s even played a game for the England U21’s and scored in that too.

Target Man is his preferred position, and putting him here is the best option when some of your star strikers are out injured. His star rating has already improved to three-stars.

We tied him up on a five-year deal worth 10,000 a week, and made sure the club have the option to extend his contract by a further two-years if we feel he’s worth it – and the way things are going, he will be.

Jake Doyle-Hayes


Now you may not think it worthwhile to bring Jake Doyle-Hayes into the first team with the abundance of central midfield players that Aston Villa have, but we did and we’re not regretting it.

We play him as a Mezzala, a central player who likes to drift wide and find pockets of space.

He’s appeared six times so far for the first team, scoring one goal (which was an absolute worldy) and assisting once.

As you can see, his ability is already good – and those lovely green arrows tell us that he’s only going to get better. He starts the game with two-and-a-half-star ability, but has the potential to be a three-star or four-star player. Regardless of how he turns out, he’s always worthwhile as a squad player if he doesn’t set the world on fire in your sve.

He’s also been called up to the England U-21 team, and he scored on his debut.

Alan Hutton


Look at that smile.

Now, Alan Hutton is a player that many a Football Manager connoisseur would get rid of during the opening transfer window – but we decided otherwise.

We’ve been playing the Scottish Cafu as a wing-back on the right hand side, rotating him with the younger legs of James Bree when he gets tired.

He’s been a breath of fresh air on the right, assisting four goals in all competitions, and even nabbing one for himself.

According to Football Manager 2018, Hutton is in his prime and we can’t argue with that.

Callum O’Hare


From Hutton’s smile to O’Hare’s pout.

O’Hare was almost forced into the squad once we knew what formation we were playing, as we needed a front-three-pairing.

For the first couple of games in the Championship, and for the majority of our friendlies, he played alongside Keinan Davis and Robert Snodgrass up front due to the injuries of Hogan and Kodjia.

We play him as an Advanced Forward, which isn’t his favoured position, but he performs well there.

In nine games for Villa, in both cup and league, O’Hare has scored five goals and assisted one. Not bad for a nineteen year old playing out of position.

He’s another two-star current ability, but has the potential to be something special. Unlike his young com-padres however, he’s not been called up to an U-21 national team yet.

So there we have it. When the game starts, you’re in a bit of muck as some of the regulars in the squad are injured – but you’ll soon find yourself contemplating different formations and first elevens when some of these players impress.


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