Aston Villa reloads once more on the youth front. Get these kids firing on all cylinders for a sustainable, powerful Villa in the future.
The positivity surrounding the revival of Aston Villa’s inner-workings has been delightful over recent months. Keith Wyness has provided a comforting voice on a number of occasions about a number of topics. Regarding the commercial side of the club, CCO Luke Organ spoke impressively to The Villa View. His words truly epitomized the notion that Villa are being run in a manner which will hopefully witness a juxtaposed progression both on the field and in the board room. It is that current progress across the last 360 minutes of football which will please Villa fans the most.
A Sustainable Future
The club have emphasised that there will be three teams formed in order to maintain this progression: one for promotion, one for EPL retention and a final one which will ‘push one’. The powers of the club anticipate that each one of these teams will be supplemented by up-and-coming youth players: similar to the success teams like Tottenham have had. Already, this season has seen the rise of Keinan Davis, Callum O’Hare, and Andre Green with appearances from Jake Doyle-Hayes and a host of others. However, over the past twelve months, there have also been a number of ‘signings for the future’. Notably, these include Jacob Bedeau, Dimitri Sea and just this week, Filip Marschall. It is obvious that the club believes such young talents could break through to the first team at some point in the future.
Too Much Pressure?
Forward-thinking from the club in relation to these signings should be applauded. The combination of astute scouting and an admirable youth academy at the club may well save too many large transfer fees in the long run. Equally, should any of the players be sold in the future, it remains possible that the club may accrue large transfers and therefore profits. What disturbs me, is that such promise is being placed on the shoulders of these young individuals.
Several media outlets reported the signing of Filip Marschall this week. The goalkeeper, who arrived from non-league Cambridge City, currently plays at Under-15 level. How many players coming through the Aston Villa Under-15 academy make it to the First Team? Sadly, not many. But having signed from a non-league club, the supporters now have Marschall’s names on their lips as one for the future.
Forgive me for sounding cynical, but at fifteen or sixteen years old, the youth players should still be enjoying their development.
Many a fan may argue that the coverage of these players lasts for a couple of moments before the next big story catches their attention. However, when Dimitri Sea signed from ACBB in France, his arrival attracted an astonishing headline. Quoting the technical director of ACBB, the Birmingham Mail introduced Sea as a ‘Match Killer’ who is ‘incomparable to anybody else’. Don’t get me wrong, I hope that Dimitri Sea achieves this image for the club in years to come. I do not, on the other hand, feel that it is appropriate for youth signings to be built up in such a way.
The Rise Is Possible
Although signed under the previous regime, young striker Keinan Davis is a testament to the way that youngsters can be scouted and then brought through the ranks. Having joined the club from Biggleswade Town in 2015, Davis has scored two goals in fourteen appearances this season. Nonetheless, his game offers much more than the two goals he has tallied to his name. Possibly, so little was made of Davis’ transfer that the incorrect chant of ‘He’s one of our own!’ rang out from the stands as he completed his rise to the first-team.
Perhaps the point is this: let’s continue to scout young talent and integrate them into our academies. But let’s not make a big song and dance of it. These youngsters just have to get on with their football and will hopefully come good. The pressures of making the step up from youth football are enough without doing it with an anticipated reputation. I applaud the club for this sustainable transfer policy, but let’s celebrate its successes in retrospect.