2018-19 West Bromwich Albion |
2019-20 FC Barcelona |
2021- Aston Villa, £943k, 1 (1) |
AT A GLANCE
Louie Mark Barry
Saturday, 21 June 2003
Aston, Birmingham, West Midlands
Thursday, 23 January 2020
Mark Delaney |
First Squad Appearance
Friday, 8 January 2021
Friday, 8 January 2021
Friday, 8 January 2021
Final Squad Appearance
(5 ft 7 in) 1.74 m
Player #965 for Aston Villa, Louie Barry has played as a centre forward for the club since the 2020-21 season.
Louie was born on 21 June 2003 in Aston, Birmingham and joined Villa in January 2010 from FC Barcelona at the age of 16 for a fee of £943,000. On joining Louie said “It was a good experience over there (Barca) but I’ve got to come to the club I’ve loved my whole life and my dad’s crazy for.”
At the time Villa CEO Christian Purslow heralded Barry signing saying “sometimes in business and in sport you need a marquee development to signal to the rest of the marketplace that we’re back in business.
“We wanted to signal to 14, 15 and 16-year-olds and their parents that Aston Villa is deadly serious about youth football. So we take the only British 16-year-old to ever be transferred to Spain.
“He didn’t settle. People have asked me this. His family are Villa mad, the kid’s Villa mad, but he went to Barcelona, joined their academy and all the management of Barcelona changed.
“Imagine, you’re 16, you’ve moved out to Barcelona and the three people who recruited you and talked you into the job aren’t there anymore - and you’re 16, away from home.
“He was very unsettled and we sensed an opportunity. I’m very grateful to Barcelona who acted incredibly professionally to basically facilitate Louie coming to Aston Villa.
“In a world of England youth football, they all know Louie because he’s the best 16-year-old in the country - and he’s just gone to Aston Villa.
“Imagine what that does for our recruitment potential. It was a statement of intent, I’m very proud of it, but judge my actions in another year’s time.”
Barry went straight into the Under 18 squad on arrival before being promoted to the Villa Under 23 squad for the 2020-21 season under Mark Delaney and Delaney promoted Barry to the first team squad before giving him his first team debut in the 2020-21 season aged 17 in the 1-4 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool on Friday, 8 January 2021.
Barry was part of the youngest ever team to ever take the field for Villa in a professional game - aged 18.8 years on average - after the first team squad was forced into isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic which had seen a raft of players and staff testing positive for the virus in the week preceding the game.
Barry was also one of 16 debutants in the game - the most in a single game in Villa’s history and was also part of the starting XI made up of 11 debutants, the first time this had happened since Villa’s first professional fixture - also in the FA Cup - on Saturday, 13 December 1879 against Stafford Road. Barry made his debut appearance under caretaker manager Mark Delaney following Dean Smith having to join the first team in isolation.
Barry scored in the 41’ minute of his debut on Friday, 8 January 2021 against defending Premier League Champions Liverpool after a through ball from fellow debutant Callum Lowe.
“As soon as he went through I was comfortable (he was going to score). I’ve seen him do that many, many times,” Delaney commented afterwards.
Opposition manager Jurgen Klopp paid homage to Barry’s performance with anon the cuff nickname “The [Villa] boys did really well. Little Jamie Vardy was a proper threat.”
Barry had touched the ball just 13 times, three of which enabled him to score but it was his pest-like presence up top for Villa and his clinical finish that reminded Klopp of Leicester’s goalscoring legend Jamie Vardy.
The Birmingham Mail described Barry’s debut thus:
“[Barry] had to wait 15 minutes for his first touch when the ball ricocheted off him. Barry ran his heart out and rinsed Minamino down the right side before delivering a dangerous ball. He was just warming up at that stage and he soon got his chance and didn’t he take it well. It was Rowe with the ball in and Barry got his body between him, the ball and Rhys Williams before sprinting forward and finishing cool as you like. The hype’s real with this kid who’s one of the best finishers at the club. What a moment for the boyhood Villa fan who lived his dream tonight.”
Barry’s debut goal for Villa was his eighth goal from 12 appearances in all competitions this season and, as academy chief Mark Harrison put it after signing him: “In terms of what he can achieve, we firmly believe that he can be an outstanding No 9 for this club.”
By March 2021 Barry’s scoring stats had been sensational with 12 goals from his previous 11 starts across Villa’s first-team, Under 18s and Under 23s. With Villa’s goalscoring form dipping in the later part of the 2020-21 season and the absence of Jack Grealish due to a long term injury there was understandable clamour for Dean Smith to give Barry further first team opportunities however Smith preferred a cautious approach to Barry’s development ahead of an expected promotion to the first team ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.