Youth need game time

O'Hare shone against Middlesbrough in the cup.

I have been asking for far too long now why Villa generally have a pretty impressive youth setup – at youth level but when it comes to turning them into first-team players we generally struggle.

Over the years we have watched several players including the Moore brothers (Stefan and Luke), Nathan Delfouneso and Callum Robinson all impress at youth levels but when it came to making the step up – they generally flopped. The later isn’t the best of examples admittedly as he is playing pretty well at the same level we currently find ourselves at with Preston North End.

But we didn’t see many Premiership clubs come swooping in for any of our youngsters once we got relegated, did we? The only solution for me is game time.

Clubs like Chelsea are often criticised for the number of players they loan out but they make a pretty good income from players who go out on loan and then sold. Villa should be looking at a similar model.

We should look to loan as many of our youth setups as possible and monitor their progress. If they get game time and impress we should look to get them climbing the levels before making a decision on whether they deserve a chance in our first team or to be sold for a profit.

Could we have handled Grealish's youth career better?Jack Grealish is a prime example for me. He went on loan to Notts County where he impressed. The winger then returned to Villa for a short period before going back to Notts County to help them fight their relegation battle despite there being interest from Championship clubs. He had a chance to continue his progress and I personally believe his desire to help his new teammates potentially affected his progress.


A few of the current youth players were involved in the weekend defeat to Peterborough in the FA Cup. It is all good and well but we are out of the cup so we should look to loan out as many of these youth players as possible now.

Easah Suliman has been linked with a loan move with Oldham Athletic believed to be at the front of the queue. The 19-year-old defender helped England under-19’s to win the European Championship last summer – scoring the winning goal in the final.

He isn’t getting any younger and struggled in his loan spell with Cheltenham Town last season so we must see what he can do with a run of games and make a decision on his future.

Callum O’Hare has impressed at the u23 level this year and has maybe become too good for that level. It is believed that Villa is reluctant to loan out the midfielder in case we pick some injuries up in the run in. I am sorry but we can’t risk a talented youngsters future on ifs and buts. Steve Bruce either needs to give him the game time or get him a loan deal.

James Bree is a weird one for me. He impressed at Championship level with Barnsley but has failed to break into the first team since signing for Villa. We aren’t exactly short of options on the right so why is he rotting away doing nothing?

I could go on and name more youth players but at the end of the day, all of them require the same thing. Competitive first-team football regardless of the level.

Steve Round has come to the club and part of his role was to look at how we improve the youth setup, amongst other things so why are these youngsters not being given the opportunity to progress?


  1. When a club is winning it’s easier to introduce the odd player into team & Bruce to be fair has integrated both Davis & Green into the 1st team & others eg O’Hare are on the fringes . But then one only has to look @ what happened on Saturday to see what can go wrong
    As for the past perhaps fans should look back to what MON did in Moscow in the Europa cup & then how he virtually ignored the youngsters after that .
    Problem with loaning players out when the club is in the state Villa has been in recent years is that loan players either leave or get injured , The other issue untill recently is that we’ve had youngsters a plenty but few of real quality , but that seems to be changing , but we need the 1st team to improve so that youth players can slowly be drip fed into it

  2. there are plenty of players who left villa who have gone on to do well for their current clubs,, bannan robinson delphonso johnson stevens lichaj and now weinman,,, none are stella performers but good club players
    trouble is we need players to be good squad players 2 to 4 years earlier than they seem to be maturing,,,
    there is probably only gardner and grealish who we have stuck with in the hope they will come good
    and there are plenty of the current youth who will no doubt go the same way and end up at walsall or scunthorpe,,,
    out of the current crop green davies hep murph and o hare really should make it at this level
    and i really liked lyden,,,, lets hope we play well enough to go 3 nil up more often so we can give these kids some pressure free game time

    • The main point was – we used to have a youth setup with players who go on for top clubs.

      Not one of them are in the top division.


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