Kortney Hause was the natural replacement for both centre-backs last season due to limited numbers – but is he the natural replacement in this Premier League season?
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Defensive stalwart Tyrone Mings is set to miss the final weeks of December with a hamstring injury. That news, mixed with recent defensive frailties, will surely cause a cold bead of sweat to run down the spine of most supporters.
Mings was purchased to be the ‘main’ centre-back if you will, the ever-present – the John Terry. His absence will be felt – despite some poorer performances from the newly minted England International in recent games.
Aston Villa’s manager, Dean Smith, will need to find a solution to the “leaky” defence that shipped four goals against a lively Leicester City and sadly, this will be without the manically menacing Mings.
The club have only managed to keep three clean sheets so far this season, two 2-0 wins against Everton and Newcastle, and a 0-0 bore draw with West Ham United. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve conceded 10 goals in their last five games – although the standard of opposition for most of these has been ‘top six’.
With recent games passing Bjorn Engels by due to a hip injury and then resulting fitness concerns, it’s likely that he’ll be thrust into the starting eleven for the remaining December games.
Ezri Konsa has deputised well in Engels’ absence and has staked his claim to remain in the squad – but alongside the Belgian rather than instead of him in Tyrone’s absence.
But, could Dean Smith elect to bring in Kortney Hause over Konsa for the remaining games of 2019?
On paper, it would seem that Ezri Konsa was brought in to provide cover for Bjorn Engels, whilst Hause was to be cover for Tyrone Mings due to his ability to play on the left-hand side.
Kortney Hause is yet to play a single minute of Premier League football in this campaign but has featured in all of the Carabao Cup games against Crewe Alexandra, Brighton and a highly rotated Wolverhampton Wanderers.
In those games combined, Hause has amassed a respectable nine interceptions, boasted an 80.9% passing accuracy and won over 65% of his aerial duels.
It would be unfair to ignore Kortney Hause’s contribution to last season’s promotion triumph too. In the 981 minutes of football he played from January to May in the Sky Bet Championship, the former Wolves defender made 67 interceptions, completed 475 passes – an 82% success rate – and won 80 duels in the air.
There were times that Kortney was a vital cog in the defensive set-up at Aston Villa on their route towards winning the Play-Offs.
Now, though, Aston Villa find themselves in the Premier League, and Hause is untested in these waters. As the club look to pull themselves away from the clutches of the relegation zone, can Kortney provide a helping hand?