‘We think the world of him’ - The Aston Villa verdict on Bristol City target Tim Iroegbunam

BirminghamWorld’s Aston Villa reporter Ben Ramsdale gives BristolWorld the lowdown on Bristol City’s latest transfer target Tim Iroegbunam.

Bristol City remain in the transfer market for new players as they continue to try and make for the best preparation for the 2022/23 Championship season.

Mark Sykes, Kal Naismith and Kane Wilson were all through the door either before the window opened or just after as Nigel Pearson tries to assemble a squad capable of challenging in the division.

As City were jetting back from their warm weather training camp from Austria, another player was linked to Ashton Gate.

City, along with five of their Championship rivals; Sheffield United, Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers, Swansea City and Queens Park Rangers, have all Aston Villa starlet emerges as loan target for Bristol City ">enquired Aston Villa about their midfielder Tim Iroegbnaum.

Iroegbunam is a teammate of Alex Scott and won the Under-19 European Championship’s on Friday and actually replaced him as the Three Lions won their first title since 2018.

A defensive midfielder by trade, it’s a position that the Robins need to strengthen in. To help get the lowdown of how likely a possible move is and what kind of player he is, we spoke to BirminghamWorld’s football reporter Ben Ramsdale.

Ben covers Aston Villa and has seen all three of the Premier League games that Iroebgnaum has played in so is able to provide what is needed to make a judgement on latest player to be rumoured with a move her

What kind of midfielder is Tim Iroegbunam

His natural position is more of a central defensive midfield type though that’s not to say he doesn’t get forward now and then.

What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Strength wise you don’t have to look any further than his height and strength. At just 18-years-old he towers over most on the pitch and is strong enough to hold off the post powerful of midfielders. He’s comfortable on the ball and doesn’t panic under pressure, a real credit for someone of his age.

Weakness wise, simply put, is his lack of experience. Just three senior games he has played for Villa (one start) and whilst the only way he will gain more of that is to play games - it’s easy to see why that would put a team off at Championship level.

Something else to note is what Steven Gerrard picked up on numerous times at the back end of last season and that’s that he’s still very much in his shell and he needs to come out of it. Whilst he’s confident on the pitch and with the ball at his feet, he’s a quiet lad and needs to use his voice more.

With a host of Championship clubs interested, what kind of project/club would be the best fit for him?

Somewhere he can go, get minutes and not be crucified because of the failings of the team around him. What I mean by that is throwing a young player into a situation where a team will likely be in a relegation fight isn’t going to do wonders for their confidence.

It’s hard to look past Michael Beale at QPR. Beale was a highly popular figure at Villa and had a big influence on a lot of the younger lads. Seeing one or two go there this year seems nailed on.

Is there a possibility he could stay and be a first-teamer this season? Where is he in the pecking order?

No, I wouldn’t say so. In and around the first-team squad? Absolutely. But with the signing of Boubacar Kamara and the already seasoned players like Douglas Luiz and John McGinn in there - a starting berth is some way off. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him stick around and get more minutes from the bench though to build on what he got last year.

From the glimpses that you’ve seen of him, could he deal with the physicality of the Championship?

Absolutely. As I stated in the strengths, that is one of his - his physicality. At 18-years-old you often want players to fill out and hit the weights and whilst Iroegbunam isn’t exactly Adama Traore reincarnate in terms of physical build - he’s such a tall lad that already has strength on the ball and that’s only going to grow.

How far can he go in the game?

‘We think the world of him,’ are the words Gerrard used when describing him. When one of the greatest players to ever play in that position is saying that about you - you know you’ve got every chance of going far.

The biggest compliment I can pay of him is in the games he did play - had you not known they were his first - you probably wouldn’t have guessed that. To play Premier League football and look comfortable at 18 is some going. I’m not saying he’s off to win the Ballon d’Or in a few years time but he certainly has the ability to become a real good top level player.