After a season that saw him train with the first-team but not make any actual appearances, Ola Aina is making up for lost time this pre-season. He's featured in all three (official) pre-season games — he did not play against Austrian fourth division champions ATUS Ferlach in the bonus secret friendly — and against Liverpool on Wednesday, just as he did against Wolfsberger AC, he completed the full 90 minutes once again.
Aina was deployed at right back, alongside the once impenetrable first-team trio of César Azpilicueta, John Terry, and Gary Cahill. While they may not be Antonio Conte's first-choice once the season starts (this is not 2014-15 anymore, after all), they managed to keep Liverpool off the scoresheet anyway despite facing Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané for over an hour, then having to hang on with 10 men against the likes of Lazar Markovic and Danny Ings. It wasn't always pretty or comfortable, but they made it work.
Aina himself looked cool, calm, collected, and assured in defense, though rather disconnected in attack. He was mostly ignored in the few forays forward that he did make. That said, overlapping full backs didn't seem to be a part of Conte's gameplan yesterday (Azpilicueta didn't do much in that regard either on the left, though that's less surprising).
With Branislav Ivanovic injured and Baba Rahman seemingly well down Conte's pecking order, it would appear that Ola Aina has a real shot at making the team. His versatility is a big plus in this regard as well, as he's capable of playing on either flank, and as a center back as well.