Aston Villa: Player who Emery sold for £5m is now outperforming Diaby.
Unai Emery’s policy on youth has been clear since taking the reins at Aston Villa. With the signing of young stars like Jhon Duran or the continued integration and development of Jacob Ramsey for example, it’s shown that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.
Alternatively, there are some that can slip through the Villans’ net. A prime example of such is the high-flying Jaden Philogene-Bidace.
Where did Jaden Philogene come from?
Philogene-Bidace, although now playing without that second surname, is an electric 21-year-old winger. Born and raised in west London, Philogene somehow didn’t get picked up in a formative academy fashion like so many youngsters in the city.
Instead, he got his start through the Pro: Direct Academy. Here, he shone and had a pick of Football League clubs back in 2018. He settled for Aston Villa and saw three years in the youth setup before making his senior breakthrough in 2021.
While he had shown great tenacity up to this point with academy showings, as well as consummate preseason involvements for Villa – Philogene found opportunities elsewhere with loan deals for Stoke and Cardiff City, respectively.
At the latter, he gave Villa fans more reason to suggest his involvement as he scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 Cardiff win over bitter Lions rivals Birmingham City.
Why did Jaden Philogene leave Villa?
While Philogene enjoyed good form and a game-influencing energy, Emery couldn’t see the youngster in his plans for the 2023-24 term.
Again, he had been involved in preseason friendlies – yet without that supporting structure of being in an academy since he was a child, it did seem like a deterring undertone for many observers.
Despite one fan among many exclaiming that he had “been our best player 2 pre-seasons in a row so far” in response to journalist Gregg Evans’ claim that he was an “exciting prospect” – Villa clearly couldn’t offer the left-sided talent anything long term.
He may have been too late of a developer for Villa, yet Philogene had a safety net of multiple suitors primed on departure, and now he finds himself in the Championship with Hull City as well as flourishing in England’s U21 side.
What has Philogene done since leaving Aston Villa?
Such has been the creative winger’s attitude and skill, that his Premier League exit has done him little negative damage. At Hull, there have been more opportunities in a highly developmental side, and it has of course reaped further individual chances.
Of these chances, Philogene’s momentum saw, of course, an England U21 debut with two brilliant goals against Serbia.
In just seven games this domestic season, Philogene has demonstrated his raw talents and looks to be keeping up with his former place competitor Moussa Diaby at Villa.
Diaby has five goal involvements (two goals, three assists) in eight Premier League games. Philogene has five goal involvements (one goal, four assists) in one less game. Add those aforementioned strikes at international level into the equation and he’s even outscored the French summer signing in 2023/24.
It’s said that despite a football academy grounding, Philogene was consistently the best player in his schooling. This raw tenacity looks to be bearing fruit and in future, this season could be seen as the true kickstart for his career.