Aston Villa had howler with Callum O’Hare

One of Aston Villa‘s academy graduates came back to haunt them earlier this month as Jack Grealish starred in Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Unai Emery‘s side.

The England international won a penalty, which was converted by Riyad Mahrez, after being clipped by Jacob Ramsey – another Villa academy product – in the 18-yard box, and he recorded a Sofascore rating of 7.3 for his performance.

Grealish, who scored 32 goals in 213 games for Villa, is one of the latest in a long line of excellent players who have graduated from the club’s youth setup, including the likes of Gareth Barry, Gary Cahill and Steven Davis.

However, their academy talents do not always make a name for themselves with the Villans, and one young gem with whom the club appear to have had a howler is attacking midfielder Callum O’Hare.

The Englishman caught the eye at youth level with Villa as he scored 15 goals and provided 11 assists in 61 U21 appearances before being handed nine first-team games, assisting one goal in that time.

However, at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, then-manager Dean Smith decided that the dynamo was not worthy of a fresh contract, and O’Hare was duly released on a free transfer.

Is Grealish an Aston Villa legend?





How much is Callum O’Hare worth now?

Heading into the 2022/23 campaign, a mere two years on from his release from Villa, Coventry reportedly valued the attacking midfielder at around £10m amid interest from Championship rivals Burnley.

The 24-year-old, who was once dubbed a “creative force” by writer Zach Lowy, was valued at such a fee because of his impressive performances in his first two Championship seasons with the Sky Blues.

In the 2020/21 campaign – his first year after leaving Villa for nothing – O’Hare racked up three goals and eight assists from midfield whilst making 2.5 tackles and interceptions and 1.1 key passes per game.

He followed that up by averaging a Sofascore rating of 7.02 and chipping in with five goals and eight assists in 45 Championship outings the following season, along with making 1.6 tackles and interceptions and 1.9 key passes per match for Coventry in 2021/22.

These statistics show that the youngster is a midfielder who can put his foot in to win possession back for his team whilst also providing quality on the ball to open up opposition defences in the final third, which is presumably why Burnley were keen on signing him.

Although it is difficult to gauge whether or not the dynamo will be good enough to play in the Premier League or to make a difference in Villa’s first-team, his £10m valuation – only two years on from being released – indicates that Smith had a howler by allowing him to leave for nothing.

The club could have at least cashed in on the magician – perhaps after sending him out on another couple of loan spells – and received a hefty fee for his services, instead of carelessly ditching the talented midfielder on a free transfer.