Impetus’ Nathan Edwards was in the pressbox for us at the Bescot Stadium to watch Aston Villa take on Everton in the Barclays Women’s Super League. He saw firsthand the super talent of Laura Blindkilde – one of the country’s top teenage talents (24/10/22).
Above: Laura Blindkilde – Aston Villa’s young gun. Photo: Aston Villa Women.
Ahead of Aston Villa’s opening game of the season, boss Carla Ward revealed that there was a player that wasn’t a consideration to start, against Manchester City, at the beginning of the week, but come the day before they played, she had done “sensationally well” and had forced her manager into a decision.
Ward kept the name sealed, as her side went on to stun Women’s Super League giants Manchester City and in her catch-up with the media, a week later, she did bare the name. That player was Laura Blindkilde.
And this isn’t the first time the 19-year-old has had to fight her way to the top, as her footballing dream nearly came to an abrupt end. Blindkilde was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, a condition that causes sudden, faster heartbeats.
But after keyhole surgery, and not having a pacemaker fitted, Blindkilde has quickly put that past her and has gone from strength to strength starting every WSL game this season for the Villans, and featuring heavily for England’s under 19s.
During Villa’s loss against Everton on Saturday, you could see Blindkilde’s talent. The Villa youngster played just behind Rachel Daly in a midfielder three, which allowed her to utilise her strengths. Blindkilde is an intelligent and creative midfielder who often picks up the ball in all areas of the attacking third, with the aim to find a killer pass or a shooting position.
And throughout the game, she found positions to do both. In the eighth minute, the midfielder had the best chance for her side. Blindkilde sneaked into the box unmarked to meet Kirsty Hanson’s low cross but flashed her effort off the post.
That passage of play highlighted both her ability and areas to improve. As a midfielder late runs into the box add a different threat to Villa’s attack, which is something Blindkilde will only get better at, but once in that position, she lacks the lethal instinct to really make it count.
The former Birmingham player is yet to score in the WSL for Villa, but at only 19 she has shown the foundations that could make her a vital player for Ward’s side.
Although more of an attacking midfielder, her most significant improvements, which have come from her rise to the first team, are her tactical and off-the-ball traits. With her playing against better players and stronger squads, as seen this season against Manchester City, she has been tasked with a lot more defensive responsibility which she has managed well, reading people’s movements and tracking a run, that she is often wanting to make when Villa attack, has only made her a more well-rounded player.
It is only the start of what looks to be a promising career for young Blindkilde, and she is at a great club to help her continuously improve.
Blindkilde is one of many youth products that Ward is trusting this season, and with players such as Daly and Kenza Dali, the midfielder is able to learn how to compete at the top level and can look to them during difficult periods in the season, first-hand.
It is a healthy environment at Villa, and with the strong start the Villans have made with her in the team it looks to be a breakout season for the England star, both international and at the domestic level.