Date: 14th July 2007 at 11:22am
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I want to see more signings at Villa before the season starts. Let’s get that out of the way first. I want to see at least 3 or 4 players come in, better quality than the players who have left. Players younger and hungrier than those that have left.

But at the same time, there’s a crop of hungry, talented young players coming through the ranks at Villa Park that I want to see just as much.

For most of last season, the majority of us here were hollering at Martin O’Neill to move Gabriel Agbonlahor up front as an out and out striker. Now the transfer window is here, his promise appears to have been put to one side – we all want a big name striker in to partner and back up John Carew instead. I’m as guilty as anyone – my eyes fix on the name Defoe everytime I see a headline. I can’t help it. But does our leading scorer for last season deserve a chance to prove himself up front?

Luke Moore as well – he chipped in with a couple of classy goals in the games he played last season – with him, Angel and Gabby playing together we looked threatening at the start of last season. With Young taking his place in the three, any new signings would push him further down the pecking order as well. No one can question this lad’s heart – he played through and played down a horrific shoulder injury because he wanted to prove he was worthy of a spot in the team. With his injury nightmare behind him, could this be his season?

Craig Gardner made us forget about McCann in the last few months of the season – keeping Smiler out of the team, helping Villa on their unbeaten run and scoring two blinding goals in the process, one of which was a goal of the season candidate on Match of the Day to rival Barry’s cracker against Spurs. With the signing of Reo-Coker, he looks to be back on the bench, but for how long?

Gary ‘Airstike’ Cahill came on in leaps and bounds as well – after bursting onto the scene with THAT goal, he had a solid season, displacing Ridgewell and seeming to improve every time he took to the field. He lost his place towards the end of the season, but I doubt anyone could keep Laursen out of the team the way he was playing when he came back from injury. But his chance will come again, and this time round he could prove harder to displace.

We’re almost in a unique position here – we have a fantastic crop of young, British players coming through the ranks, pushing hard for first team places – something that used to be the prerogative of teams like Liverpool and Man United. They were expected to breed the new generation of England players. Now, with foreign owners and big money signings, their academy players struggle to get a run out in the reserves.

I want to see these kids kick on. I want them to become more than back-up, bit part players. I want to see them make the first team spots their own. I want to see them score goals, win matches, pick up England U-21 honours. All the more so because it’s something that the clubs mentioned above apparently no longer care about.

With the money spent by the ‘Big Four’ – mostly on foreigners – this summer, when other second tier teams throw questionable amounts of money at anything that moves, I’m proud that the Villa Academy is capable of churning out players that can not only break through the ranks and into the Premiership, but really make their presence felt when they do.

So, bring on the signings, bring on the new season.. and bring on the kids. A wise man once said you never win anything with kids. Wouldn’t it be great if our young guns proved him wrong again?


14 Replies to “Don’t Forsake The Villa Youth”

  • I certainly feel we have a special bunch of youngsters in our team at the moment. (Perhaps even half of the next England team?)…..Time well tell if they are in the same bracket as giggs, scholes, beckham etc. But the future looks bright. They excelled in the youth and reserve teams, they know each others game inside out and come across as winners.

  • Top class keeper and RB would do me,if Laursen stays pretty fit then i would go along with all your comments,we need to give that forward line a full season to develop.

  • Very good article. I agree totally. I know it doesn’t make big headlines now but the signing of Harry Forrester, the two Austrian lads (from memory I think they were Austrian) and Delfonso could be major in 4 or 5 years. There is also another ‘crop’ on the verge of coming through- O’Hallaron, Steiber and McGurk just to name three.
    Having said that, and agreed with you, I would still like to see Luke Young, Wesley Scneider and Jermaine Defoe at Villa Park next season as a minimum.

  • Agree with everything posted so far, better this way than the chelsea way Steiber should be the next one through. with 2 or 3 more quality players we are set for a super season.

  • must be so hard being the manager, getting the blend right, keeping everyone happy, not to mention WINNING. We have the foundations of a great team though, that is for sure, maybe just more strength in depth and a bit more quality and we’ll be laughing!

  • The better the player a young lad keeps out of the team the higher their confidence and the more their stock will improve.We need the high bar with quality players to be set so they can train and ackowledge the level they must perform to.Agreed we have a great youth system but we still need quality and experience to make us robust in all areas.
    Getting there now though…

  • Well said, i think that we are quite lucky with our options regarding talented young strikers. The thing is they are still very young, i would be gutted to see moore or gabby moved aside but that definately wont be the case. I think if we get Defoe in to play alongside carew it can only benifit our younger players on the bench because they will be watching and learning from two strikers with bags of experince. Reo coker will replace mcann and young will probably come in from charlton and if we get sneijder then i think that would put young out of the starting 11 unless we play him on the left but imagine that for a bench……Sorenson(if we get gordon or jussi), Young, Gardner, Moore, Gabby and Cahill. Not so bad really.

  • Excellent article, personaly I think Luke Moore will develop into a very good striker, he had bad luck last year having to have shoulder surgery, but I believe he will come back with a bang this season.

  • There is a train of thought that your club is as strong as your reserve XI. Don’t know if it’s true, but I can see the point. IF we signed Jassi, Luke Young, Wesley Sneider and Jermaine Defoe I think MON may well play 4-3-3 as he has historically liked to play three central midfielders.
    My first XI would be – Jassi–Young (L), Laursen,Mellberg,Bouma–Sneider,Reo-Coker,Barry—Defoe,Carew.Young (A)
    So what about a reserve XI?–Sorenson–Delaney,Cahill,Ridgewell,O’Halloran—Gardner,Petrov,Berger—Agbonlahor,Moore,Maloney with Osbourne sent out on a seasons loan for experience.
    With the possible exception of O’Halloran everyone in that reserve XI is capable of doing a very good job at Premiership level.
    So I reckon those four signings are we are serious contenders for UEFA Cup, due to the strength of our back up squad.

  • Adam McGurk has experienced a major set-back, otherwise his name would be considerably more to the fore right now. He was making great progress until he suffered the serious injury, but if this lad makes a full and complete recovery, then believe me, he has the potential and the ability to definitely make the grade. Watch out also for Stephen O’Halloran and Marc Albrighton. Names not well known to the average supporter right now, but lads who have it in them to go far.

  • There is a bright future and these young Villa Guns may mean that in a couple of seasons “they” are first team automatic selection.
    This of course would free up millions of pound to spend in the transfer market.

  • developing good young players is a double edged sword.if they break into the first team and they are that good then its likely that other clubs with money to spend come sniffing around

  • Well said Col8. These fast developing quality youngsters of ours will really come of age in the next 2-3 years. The future very definitely looks bright.

  • Good article. I think MON can be trusted to bring on the youngsters, he did a good enough job of it last season. OK, in some cases it was out of necessity but it did show him how good some of our kids are.

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