Former Aston Villa striker Kevin Phillips feels that head coach Dean Smith has got a big decision ahead of him in January when it comes to what to do for the immediate future of young emerging talent, Cameron Archer.
The 19-year-old Academy graduate had a good and steady spell out on loan last season with Solihull Moors, but he’s come on leaps and bounds this summer. First impressing in his debut in the EFL Cup as he grabbed a hattrick against Barrow before helping us to our first win in the EFL Trophy as we put Wycombe to the sword. The young lad was then trusted to face off against Chelsea’s defence in the Cup, where he again helped himself to a goal, and most recently Smith brought him on for his Premier League debut in our victory over Manchester United.
Archer’s contract is up this summer, so after his recent progress it shouldn’t be too long before we get news that it’s been extended – but the big question is do we keep him as a bench option or do we get him back out on loan where he’ll undoubtedly get greater game time.
Phillips feels that Smith will decide to keep him around as he spoke to Football Insider but I think the decision will ultimately hinge on what we decide to do with fellow striker Keinan Davis.
“It is one of those now, do you send him out on loan? He has certainly put himself in the shop window for other clubs who might need a striker in January. Game time is going to be difficult with Watkins and Ings there. For his development going out on loan might be a really sensible move. I’m not sure if Villa will though because what if Ings and Watkins get injured? They have both had their injury problems and the last thing Dean Smith wants to do is leave himself short. I don’t expect him to go out in January. I think they’ll wait until next season.”
With Archer coming into the side and having such a spectacular impact, added to the fact we are yet to see Davis in a Match Day squad this year, fans will now naturally assume we have moved on and it would be Davis that at least departs on loan, just so we can take one final look at him after he hopefully gets a really good run of games under his belt given all the niggly injuries that have hampered him.
Ings comes with some obvious injury baggage but Ollie doesn’t, so I don’t see that dictating things and if Archer is now ahead of Davis in the pecking order, Smith won’t have any worries about using him off the bench regularly either given the Chelsea and Manchester United minutes. Archer develops more coming off the bench than Davis now does.
So the question is what do we do with Keinan? That’s what leads Archer’s more immediate future.