Looking at the youth of today, and tomorrow.
After a pretty disappointing 2021/22 Premier League campaign, head coach Steven Gerrard’s desire for significant improvement this coming term has already seen Aston Villa make some bold moves in the summer transfer market.
Having seen both Philippe Coutinho and Robin Olsen’s loan deals turned into permanent ones, the club have also added significant experience to our backline in the shape of Diego Carlos, and our problematic defensive midfield issues are hopefully over following the arrival of very highly rated Boubacar Kamara and Villa’s odds with the likes of betstation.com will have risen on the back of that capture.
Whilst many Villans will be hoping that our first team business is not yet done for the summer, the impressive work that has been put into our Academy set up under owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens continues at pace as well.
Having stolen somewhat of a coup on other clubs at Academy level with the recent capture of former Rangers starlet Rory Wilson, big things are hoped for from the Scottish youth international given he scored 49 times for club and country in the 2021/22 campaign and Academy Manager Mark Harrison was very pleased with that bit of business.
“We are delighted that Rory has joined us having had a number of clubs interested in signing him. He is a goalscorer with a lot of potential, having also represented Scotland at international youth level. He has a real good thirst and mentality to want to improve and we really look forward to seeing how he develops with us and hopefully, in years to come, play for our first team.”
With Wilson signing his first professional deal with us, Josh Feeney was the next to contract up. Feeney moved to Bodymoor Heath from Fleetwood Town last summer and he seriously impressed for both our Under 18 and Under 23 squads in his first year with us. Having skippered England at youth level, fans will know his name from the substitutes bench last season with his progress seeing him rewarded with first team involvement.
Harrison said of his first professional deal,“We are really pleased Josh has signed his first professional contract after a very promising first season with us which led to him being involved in the first team. He put in some excellent performances last season which also saw him captain England at Under-17 level. We are all excited by his potential and with the attitude and application he has shown so far we are hopeful he can continue to develop and become a first-team regular.”
Finland youth international goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo has also committed his future to us this week, having also featured a handful of times on the substitutes bench in the last campaign. He now extends his association with us for another three years having joined us back in 2018.
With the 20-year-old having had a good loan spell up in Scotland with Ayr back in 2020/21, it will be interesting to see whether or not we try and organise another loan spell for him this coming season so he can further grow his experience.
“We are pleased that Viljami has signed a new contract and this is a really good reflection of his development over the last couple of years, which has seen him integrate into the first-team environment and be involved in the matchday squad. He has also represented Finland at U21 level which is a recognition of his development.”
With all eyes on significant improvement at first team level, it is good to know our future continues to be in good hands as for look for potential Villa stars of the future.