Aston Villa wonderkid Louie Barry has hailed his teammates following their spirited showing against Liverpool in the FA Cup.
The Villans had to field a team of youngsters against the Reds after a coronavirus outbreak in the first-team, but they did themselves proud and were still in the game at half-time.
Eventually they fell to a 4-1 defeat but goalscorer Barry insisted it was the proudest he’d ever been of a team.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring after just three minutes but ex-Barcelona academy star Barry levelled for Villa, managed by Under-23s boss Mark Delaney with Dean Smith and his coaching staff also absent for the clash.
And such is the young forward’s confidence he admitted he KNEW he’d score.
He told BT Sport: “It came from Rowey passing the ball through but I knew that I had it as soon as I’ve seen it come out for me. Obviously I put the ball in the back of the net and it’s the proudest I’ve ever been of myself.
“My family were probably screaming at the TV when it hit the back of the net and, yeah, I’ve never been so proud. It happened all so quickly. I was just happy to score and, yeah, hopefully many more.
“We were working really hard before and so was everyone else. When I celebrated, everything just came out of me. [It was] just like relief, kind of, so, yeah, it was good.”
And Barry admitted the strike, following a fine run in behind the Reds’ defence, gave him confidence they might even have the ability to win the game.
He continued: “I’ve never been so proud of a team before. From start to finish we gave our all. When I scored I thought we might even have a chance here, which it didn’t turn out to be but, [we were a] credit to ourselves, and a credit to the club.”
In the end, though, the age gap was telling and Liverpool’s physical and mental strength told with three quick-fire goals in the second period.
Barry, like several of his teammates, was given a lesson on just how fit the modern footballer is.
He added: “I was cramping up a bit towards the end but I feel like that’s just what you’ve got to get used to. With age comes more physicality, and mentality as well. It’s just a really good experience for all of us.”
Barry was briefly on the books at Barcelona but told BT Sport there is no place he’d rather be than Villa Park.
He said: “It was a great experience out there but I’ve got to come to the club I’ve loved my whole life and my dad has been crazy for Villa his whole life. It’s a proud moment.”