Gerrard Will Be Hoping Academy Man Steps Up In Pre Season To Solve One Issue

It’s a big season ahead for Villa’s brightest prospect.

20-year-old Academy graduate Cameron Archer has long been rated as a future potential first teamer for Aston Villa and after a steady, albeit unspectacular, season long loan out with Solihull Moors in the 2020-21 campaign, he exploded onto the headlines in 2021-22 impressing everyone with his performances for our Under 21 side in the EFL Trophy and his handful of appearances in the first team for then head coach Dean Smith.

The stand out moment for most Villans would have undoubtedly been his bullet header as a much changed and quite youthful side almost caused a major upset against Chelsea in the EFL Cup, but with our change in management and the arrival of Steven Gerrard, Archer’s appearances dwindled and when the January transfer window opened, he was sent for a spell with Championship side Preston North End.

The young striker had a good spell at Deepdale, and got plenty of game time, and his 20 appearances (18 starts) returned seven goals and one assist in the second tier of English football. Head coach Gerrard was clearly impressed with his performances out on loan, and he revealed at the end of April that Preston manager Ryan Lowe had already enquired about Archer’s availability for the coming 2022/23 season, but the plan was to give him a positive pre season build up and then bring him more into his first team plans and the likes of would probably give you some interesting odds on his success next year.

“Ryan (Lowe – Preston) phoned me and asked for him back next season. I told him to tell Peter Ridsdale to get his noughts out if he’s wanting him on a full-time basis! I also said that he won’t be available for a loan, because the idea of the loan is to give him some experience to get him back in the group and to have a positive pre-season.”

Gerrard went on to say that he definitely wanted more No 9 options ahead of next season, and it seems like Archer will certainly get a fair crack of the whip when it comes to opportunities to impress and really get his career here up and running despite his young age.

“I want more forward options in the No.9 position, if you like, so we’ll analyse Cam in pre-season and we’ll make the decision from there. He’s a big, bright prospect here. Ryan’s done a good job with him. Preston have given him a really good opportunity but everyone wants Cam Archer and everyone wants Keinan Davis. Good players cost an awful lot of money.”

Archer’s further improvement over the summer will not have gone unnoticed either. Having received his first call up for the England Under 21 set up in May, he went on to debut as a substitute in this month’s 2-1 victory over Czech Republic and having again come onto the pitch as a second half substitute in the game against Albania, he more than helped play his part in Lee Carsley’s side securing qualification through to the 2023 European Championships, but scoring his debut international goal.

It was a tidy finish as well with a clip of the goal available on the club’s social media channels for fans who have not seen it yet.

It could prove to be the perfect additional boost for Archer as we head towards a pre season return, and having already shown glimpses of what he is capable of, if he hits the ground running next campaign another part of Gerrard’s plan for improvement will have clicked into place.