By Richard Parks
Steve Bruce has urged Aston Villa supporters to get behind Josh Onomah amid growing criticism of the on-loan Tottenham player.
Villa manager Bruce is concerned that the 20-year-old has started to get it in the neck from fans and that he is being made a scapegoat if things go against the team.
With the Midlands giants third in the Championship and well placed for promotion ahead of tomorrow’s league clash against Queens Park Rangers, Bruce gave his backing to England Under-21 international Onomah.
“He is still only a young lad,” said Bruce in his press conference ahead of Saturday’s game, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail. “To the supporters I say, get behind him, he has played 26 times for us, which is remarkable for a 20-year-old kid.
“He is only a boy, still learning his trade, let’s not forget some of the really great performances he had for us.
“He has come from Tottenham and we are forgetting he is the same age as Callum (O’Hare) and Keinan (Davis).
“He is a young player, who needs help learning the game but has been involved 28 times (in the Championship), which is remarkable. I didn’t think he would get anywhere near that, but away at Preston, at Bristol City, you can reel them off.
“You expect a young player to go up and down. Keinan is an example, we had to take him out for a month to freshen him up. Lets get behind the boy. When people are behind you, you get more rewards.”
Following a win over Fulham in October, the Villa manager explained how keen he is to sign the Tottenham academy product permanently.
“Josh Onomah was terrific,” said Bruce, as quoted by the Sun. “We’ll try and break the bank for him. But we know Spurs have got a very good player there.”
Football Insider verdict:
Football is a fickle game and Onomah has experienced the highs and lows of that during a season-long loan at Villa which has been a rewarding experience but also a steep learning curve. He was being hailed from the heavens in the autumn when he was on song and delivering the goods in his attacking midfield role, but the fans have been unimpressed by recent performances and some of the post-match comments on social media in the last month have been particularly brutal. Nevertheless, Onomah is a genuine talent and would not have racked up 32 Spurs appearances by the age of 20 if that were not the case. He can still be an influential figure in Villa’s promotion bid and fans should get behind him.