Villa U19 v Chelsea U19: Defender Donacien keeping a cool head
'Play the game, not the occasion,' is one of the oldest sayings in the coaching manual.
It is a mantra Janoi Donacien is embracing as he prepares for the biggest game of his career this evening.
The central defender says staying cool, calm and collected is key for Villa in the NextGen Series final against Chelsea in Lake Como.
Along with team-mates like Samir Carruthers and Graham Burke, Donacien has thrived on the responsibility of being one of the senior men in this Villa side.
The 19-year-old is in his third season at the club and has trained with Paul Lambert's first team squad on a number of occasions this term.
Coach Tony McAndrew will be looking for the St Lucian-born stopper to be a 'wise old head' in the claret and blues' back four.
"It will be a big occasion but we have come here to play the game and we have come to win," said Donacien.
"We've just got to stay calm and think about doing the right stuff and stay together as a team.
"We've faced them a few times but it is a different occasion.
"It is the biggest game I've played in so far but we've got to come away with the win at the end of the day."
Donacien says it is inevitable Villa will be made to dig deep, just as they had to in Friday's thrilling semi-final against Sporting Lisbon.
"We went away to Sporting and beat them then we had to face them on Friday night and did really well," he said.
"We had to dig deep and we got through it and now we are in the final so hopefully everything goes well.
"It feels really good to be here and hopefully we can come away with the result tonight."
Donacien reckons his first taste of European football through the NextGen Series has played a significant part in his development.
Having helped Villa reach the quarter-finals last season, he has his sights set on a winner's medal this time around.
"It has been really good because we get to go away and we get to play in other stadiums," Donacien added.
"It helps you grow as a player. It would be great to cap it off with a win and go back home and celebrate with the rest of the boys."
Follow our live audio and text commentary from the NextGen final, which kicks off at 5pm UK time, 6pm local time.
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