Callum O'Hare Departs On Loan
Callum O’Hare has departed on loan to Carlisle United this evening.
Words by Matt Blogg (@Blogg_Matt)

When he was 17, Jack Grealish was loaned out to lower league Notts County, and came back ready to push for a place in Villa’s first team, and midfielder Callum O’Hare is getting the same treatment. Despite the fact that 20 year old O’Hare is older than Grealish was, a loan could still be a huge step for the youngster in his pursuit of first team football at Villa Park, and it has been confirmed that League Two Carlisle United is his destination.

Loan moves can go one of two ways. Either the player is unfavoured at his loan club and the move fails to do anything for him, like Andre Moreira’s deal, or it could spark their first team career, getting them regular minutes and progressing them as a player, like Green, Elphick and Hepburn-Murphy. And Villa fans will be hoping O’Hare joins this positive list after he his first loan move for the remainder of the season to Carlisle United, following Hepburn-Murphy to League Two. 

When he featured in the FA Cup tie at home to Swansea, O’Hare did look slightly out of his depth, with his lack of first team experience clearly hindering his progression slightly, but gaining experience and matching himself up against first team players is certainly likely to help him. There is clearly a gulf between under 23’s and our first team, with Hepburn-Murphy and O’Hare both dominating the youth level regularly but still struggling in first team games, so Smith loaning them out, something Bruce was very reluctant to do, seems to be a very good plan.

At the age of 20, O’Hare will really be wanting to become a part of Villa’s first team sooner rather than later, and if Villa remain in the Championship this season, and possibly beyond, it could be a great opportunity for him to find his feet. It is widely expected and accepted that Grealish will move onto the Premier League in the Summer, freeing up a creative midfield spot which O’Hare will certainly feel he would be more than capable of filling, and a loan move will only help his chances. A move away will help him learn how he can cope against these stronger first team players as opposed to youth players, teaching him what kind of player he really can be in the professional game. 

Obviously Villa fans will be hoping he can be the new Grealish, being a constant creative outlet and being able to dribble past anyone, although we have to remember that a) Grealish is a seriously special and unique player, and b) he took time to become the player he is now. So there’s no reason why this loan couldn’t give O’Hare the platform of confidence to go and become Villa’s main man in the future, but it won’t instantly transform him into the player we all want him to be and know he can be, so patience is still required. It’s only over the last couple of years that Grealish has become the real talisman that he is, so while O’Hare might have to move a bit quicker due to his age, we can’t expect him to instantly set the world alight. However, we can expect him to have improved as a player, be higher in confidence and really be pushing for that first team spot.

So O’Hare is getting the Grealish treatment, being sent out on loan to the lower leagues, but it helped the development of the now poster-boy at Villa Park, so O’Hare must see it as a brilliant opportunity to develop and really prove himself. Most young players have a loan spell in their careers these days, so it is an opportunity for the 20 year old to become the player we all know he can become, and make one of those starting eleven spots his own in the future.

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