Cook: Barry Cameo One of the Most Pleasing Aspects of Gillingham Victory
Friday, 8th Oct 2021 10:31
Blues manager Paul Cook says he found Louie Barry’s late cameo in Tuesday’s 2-0 Papa John’s Trophy win at Gillingham was one of the most pleasing aspects of the game and confirmed that the on-loan Aston Villa forward has a part to play at Town this season.
The 18-year-old joined the Blues for the season at the start of August but has found it tough to get into the first team at Portman Road.
Having been at Barcelona for a short spell prior to joining Villa’s academy in January 2020, Barry’s signing was much-hyped, however, so far he has made only three starts - one in the league - and two sub appearances without scoring.
However, Sutton Coldfield-born Barry caught the eye after coming off the bench in the 73rd minute at the Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday.
Asked whether there is any pressure to play him or whether Villa have said whether they might want him back in January due to his lack of involvement, manager Cook said: “With these lads, they’re such young lads in football and they need help. They’ve had such adulation as young boys coming through.
“He’s such a lovely boy, he’s a lovely lad and I think we saw in that little cameo so many of his qualities.
“It was really, really nice and refreshing to see. He was coming on the pitch at a stage of the game that was good, he was replacing Joe Pigott, which shows the calibre of player we have in the club, and it was great for Louie to show all the qualities that he has.
“He’s a really aggressive runner with the ball, he can take people on, he’s a real threat in the last third and he’s been playing for Aston Villa in a couple of different positions to us.
“He probably played against West Ham’s U21s when he had a wisdom tooth problem and shouldn’t have, and he’s probably had a bumpy little start.
“He’ll be fine, he’s an outstanding young talent, he’s a really good lad and he’s going to be a really good player.
“Aston Villa sent him to us with all these things in mind. Would we have liked him on the pitch more? I’m sure everybody would have. But he’s still only very, very young and he’s got lots of time left.”
Cook says Villa will accept there will be ups and downs during the former England U15, U16, U17 and U18 and Republic of Ireland U15 and U16 international’s time at Portman Road.
“Yes, 100 per cent,” he continued. “Louie’s started a couple of games, he’s been in and around the squad and I think for a lot of these young lads, I don’t think they realise how tough it is to get in some people’s first teams.
“I think when you’re in an environment, taking steps forward is perceived as a given. But if you look around the country in general, there are not many 18-year-old lads and sustaining playing league football. It’s been very, very difficult.
“I think on Tuesday night, we all probably saw all the qualities that Louie has as a player. He’s got a bit of devilment, he’s got real excitement in his play, he makes things happen in the final third and he can certainly create and score a goal.
“And it was great for him to come off the bench and it was probably one of the most pleasing things I found about the game.”
Has he spoken to Mile Jedinak, Villa’s loan development coach? Have the Premier League side been in touch? “We’re in regular contact with Villa. Villa will come down and watch us train in the next couple of weeks.
“For these lads, we want to help in Louie’s progression. It really, really is important but for a lot of young lads and a lot of loans, managing disappoint sometimes is as big a part of anything.
“And Louie’s managed it really, really well. He’s a really likeable young man and that’s great credit to himself and his family.”
Cook says Barry very much as a role to play at Town: “One hundred per cent, the squad is very, very strong, the size of squad is strong. Getting on our bench at the minute now is very, very tough and they’re the decisions you have to make.
“The biggest focus now is on winning league games, trying to get us back to join the pack where we want to be and then obviously if we can join that pack to try and progress to where we’d all love to be.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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