Aston Villa's Jhon Duran is the perfect player for 100-minute matches

Jhon Duran celebrates scoring for Aston Villa against Crystal Palace deep into stoppage time

Jhon Duran might just be football’s first 100-minute man. Aston Villa were one down to a comfortable-looking Crystal Palace when head coach Unai Emery introduced the Colombia international in the 71st minute.

The teenager transformed a prosaic performance into the day of the mavericks. Deploying Duran was a last roll of the dice for Emery, the coach for whom “structure” is everything. Duran is the anti-structure footballer, the 6ft 1in physical manifestation of Chris Richards and Joachim Andersen’s worst nightmares who ran Palace’s suddenly tiring defence ragged.

Almost feral at times – he picked up a silly late yellow card – he was all elbows, dark arts and fidgety skulduggery reminiscent of former Villa forwards Peter Withe and Christian Benteke. Yet, when Duran volleyed home Villa’s 87th minute equaliser, his third goal in three home games, the technique was sublime. Emery’s initial instinct is to polish his raw diamond.

“He’s 19 and he needs help. Sometimes I need to push him. Sometimes I need to support him. I’m trying to give him my confidence, but also be demanding. He is progressing quickly, but the most important things are his quality, his capacity, his skill and his big potential. Then we try to organise him in our structure.”

Nine minutes of added time gave Villa the opportunity to turn an unlikely point into a more unlikely victory. The 100-minute man came into his own, dashing hither and thither, muscling his way across (rather than through) Palace’s defence and gaining possession marginally more often than losing it.

Palace did not know what to do with him, his team-mates did not know what he was going to do either and, to all intents, like all teenagers he seems to be a mystery to himself. But it worked: in the event 17 minutes were added after referee Darren England took five of them to uphold his penalty decision when Richards felled Ollie Watkins. Later still, Duran’s fellow maverick Leon Bailey tapped in a third as Palace hurled men forwards.

Ironically, the 100-minute man whose 12 league appearances last season and four this have all been as a high-impact substitute, may soon have a new role: starter.

“Jhon needs to play matches and he and Ollie Watkins could certainly play together,” said Emery. “They have different qualities and they could complement each other.”