Express & Star

Unai Emery: Youri Tielemans will get his Aston Villa chance

Unai Emery has assured Youri Tielemans his chance will come at Villa and urged every player to “be ready” as the season kicks up a gear.


Tielemans expressed his eagerness for more playing time after not starting any of Villa’s first four Premier League matches, following his summer arrival on a free transfer from Leicester.

Emery had no issue with the Belgium midfielder revealing publicly he sought talks with the head coach about the situation – insisting he wants players prepared to fight for places.

“I am very happy with him,” he said. “I meet the players collectively and individually and have the same message for everyone: Try to be competitive, try to be ready and try to get our best performances, individually and collectively.”

Emery added: “I like players when they are not playing, they are asking how they can improve, how they can be close to starting in the starting XI.”

Today’s match with Crystal Palace is the first of seven in 23 days for Villa, who start their Europa Conference League group stage campaign in Poland against Legia Warsaw on Thursday. Emery is confident he has a squad capable of competing on all fronts but accepts the next few weeks will provide the first test of their strength in depth.

He said: “I have to prepare the players in the same idea tactically, being strong and trying to be in the starting XI.

“But the players on the bench also need to be ready to make a good impact when we need them. That is the idea, to be competitive.

“The idea I want to build here is a strong squad with the players and a strong mentality, trying to be competitive with everybody being ready to play and when they do, to get the best performances.

“If we are increasing our level with the players, sure we are going to achieve the best objective.”

Emery revealed several of Villa’s international players only returned to Bodymoor for the first time yesterday, but added: “We are going to face other teams with the same qualities and circumstances.

“It is a very high level in the Premier League and we have to be ready to involve our players in the best way, sometimes as well knowing starting on the bench is going to be very important.”