Jaden Philogene-Bidace joined the under eighteen squad from the Pro:Direct Academy in London – and is already making a major impression in the side.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
We’re in the finals for the Football Blogging Awards. You can vote for us for the first time (or second, this counts as an extra vote) by simply clicking the button below and clicking ‘post’. It really means a lot. Thanks in advance!
Amidst the in-comings of Lovre Kalinic, Kortney Hause, Tyrone Mings and Tom Carroll during the January transfer window, Aston Villa signed a handful of youth prospects that were either highly rated or released by a club abroad.
One of these players was winger Jaden Philogene-Bidace – a member of the Pro:Direct Academy in London who had been trialling for a number of sides across the country before being offered a place in the Aston Villa under eighteen side.
The 17-year-old, who hails from London has had trials at a number of English Football League clubs, including Dean Smith’s former side Brentford, before finally being offered his big break in football.
With a number of players with pedigree in our youth system, including American-Bulgarian whizkid Indiana Vassilev, Dutch youth international Colin Odutayo and French forward Dimitri Sea – it was unlikely that Philogene-Bidace would get much of a chance in games this season.
But with Vassilev now appearing more often for the under twenty-three side, as well as Odutayo, young Jaden has finally had his chance recently with two outings against south coast sides Brighton and Southampton.
When Jaden Philogene-Bidace first signed for the club, his former coach Ahmed Abdulla said that the winger was a “big character” and that he’d go into the club “thinking that he was better than everyone else” – before ensuring that he clarified his statement with “not in a negative way, he’s just that confident”.
As a left-winger, Philogene-Bidace is in fact right-footed, allowing him to cut inside and fire a shot towards goal, a trademark move of his. He’s also adept at beating his man on the outside if necessary.
Other highlights of his game include his strength and his ability to ride a tackle, with the youngster referred to as “very strong and great in one-on-ones”.
In his first game at the club, on 30th March, he was substituted on against Brighton for Colin Odutayo. In 40 minutes of game time, Philogene-Bidace managed to score a goal on his debut – just ten minutes after his arrival – as the side lost to a last-minute winner.
The past Saturday however, saw the youngster rack up 90 minutes in claret and blue, and boy did he impress – with opposition Southampton referring to him as Villa’s “brightest spark” as he netted a brace in the first half.
His first took the Saints ‘keeper by surprise, as he drifted into space around 25 yards out before firing a speculative shot on goal and into the net just at the far post.
Once the Saints had equalised, the winger gave us the lead again just before the half by exposing a defender and slotting past the keeper from around eight yards.
It’s only the beginning for Jaden Philogene-Bidace, but if he’s making impressions and strides this early on, he’s certainly one to look out for.