Whilst Ezri Konsa is still likely first choice, Kortney Hause has grasped an opportunity and proven that our squad is capable to fans.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Kortney Hause was one of three players who decided to remove themselves from Twitter following abuse from Aston Villa fans after the side crashed out of the Carabao Cup to Stoke City earlier this year, with fans jumping on the backs of more ‘senior’ players in the side.
Now, he’s receiving plaudits for his past two appearances in claret and blue as he covers for the unwell Ezri Konsa in an un-natural right centre-back position that he’s dipped in and out of since his arrival at the club on loan in January of 2018.
Hause joined in Dean Smith’s first transfer window at the club as the Aston Villa boss looked to fix the gaping hole that Steve Bruce had left behind; by signing both Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause on loan from Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively.
His role in this season was similar, to provide cover for the injury-prone centreback duo of Mings and Tuanzebe, and when needed, provided exceptional cover in the Sky Bet Championship – causing Dean Smith to push for the deal to be made permanent once Aston Villa had achieved their goal of promotion back to the Premier League.
Since then, he has dipped in and out of the squad and last year was trialled in a back three, covered for Konsa, Engels and Mings at times, but has never truly made the spot in the starting eleven his own.
And whilst he’s provided two exceptional performances since stepping in this season as Ezri Konsa has missed game time through illness, the spot is likely still Konsa’s to lose – but Hause has done his cause no harm with his displays against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion.
There was analytic data available towards the tail-end of last season that would have shocked many fans – stating that the Aston Villa centre-back was one of the most imperious headers of a ball in Europe’s top five leagues last season, with playing time adjusted.
After displays against two route-one oriented sides in West Bromwich Albion and Burnley, no fan will be shocked at that data anymore, with Hause looking nothing short of imperious in the air in both 90 minute affairs.
The centre-back was relatively unbeatable, especially in the air, across both games. Across 180 minutes of football, Hause registered a 76% Aerial Duel Success rate, winning 16 of 21 balls that were in the air. He was less successful on the ground, winning 50% of duels, but still played a large part in two clean sheets for the defence.
Sprinkled in are nine clearances and two interceptions, but it’s not just his defensive displays that garner attention either. His aerial ability is handy in the opposition box too, as shown by the centre-back striking the post with an attempt against Burnley – and the fact that he was our biggest goal threat when the league initially resumed after the pandemic had curtailed the season.
Hause is one of a number of players that have proven that perhaps fan patience is a little too short at times – and that when players are afforded a chance in the squad, much like Anwar El Ghazi, they will grasp it with both hands to try and stay there – or at the very least make a good enough impression.