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Sport The Villa youngsters following £100m man Jack Grealish to stardom

21:26  30 november  2021
21:26  30 november  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Aston Villa's most famous graduate is due to return to Villa Park as British's football's only £100million player and a credit to the work of the club's academy coaches.

Given Jack Grealish's progress at Villa, it is no surprise to see the club invest heavily in young talent.

Villa's new £14million academy site at their Bodymoor Heath training base – a 500-seat stand, fresh pitch, and other facilities that mimic Villa Park – is a symbol of their ambition to produce many more Grealishes.

Here, Sportsmail looks at the top prospects on the Villa production line.

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Jacob Ramsey

Steven Gerrard has named the 20-year-old in the starting XI for his first two matches in charge – a clear show of faith in Ramsey's talent from one of the best midfielders of the Premier League era.

These are early days but Ramsey's mix of energy, enthusiasm and skill appear perfectly suited to Gerrard's preferred 4-3-3 system.

Ability clearly runs in the family, too, with younger brother Aaron, an 18-year-old midfielder, also on the fringes of the first-team.

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Cameron Archer

A quick, ruthless forward, Archer caught the eye this season with a goal in the Carabao Cup tie at Chelsea, and he has hit 10 in total this term in the cup competitions, including two hat-tricks.

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While he has played only 20 minutes of Premier League football, the 19-year-old is pushing hard under new boss Gerrard and is also eligible to play for Jamaica, who have been watching his progress closely.

Villa are hopeful of reaching an agreement over a new contract, with Archer's current deal expiring at the end of the season.

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Carney Chukwuemeka

Villa are currently at a contract stalemate with the 18-year-old midfielder, who is thought to have been disappointed by the lack of first-team opportunities in the last four months.

Under former head coach Dean Smith, Chukwuemeka started the 1-1 draw with Brentford in the league in August but has not appeared in the top flight since.

With rival clubs circling, Villa have their work cut out to ensure Chukwuemeka is at Villa Park beyond the end of the campaign.

As with Ramsey, this is also a family affair: older brother Caleb, a 19-year-old forward, was signed from Northampton earlier this year.

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Jaden Philogene-Bidace

Like Chukwuemeka and Ramsey, Philogene-Bidace was a regular member of the first-team squad in the closing stages of the Dean Smith era and the winger will be confident of making similar strides under Gerrard.

The 19-year-old made his senior debut at Tottenham in the league at the end of last season and has represented England at both Under 19 and Under 20 level.

His pace and eye for goal have left Villa supporters desperate to see more of him in the first team.

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Louie Barry

The forward was compared to Jamie Vardy by Jurgen Klopp when he was given his opportunity against Liverpool in the FA Cup last season after the first team were hit by a Covid outbreak.

Barry spent time at both West Brom and Barcelona before arriving at Villa in January 2020, and he is currently on loan at League One club Ipswich – though Villa may recall the 18-year-old in January as he has had little first-team action.

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Konsa on Gerrard and the art of defending .
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Ezri Konsa shares his early impressions of Steven Gerrard's reign at Aston Villa."Once I saw that people were saying that, I knew they had got the wrong defender," Konsa tells Sky Sports. "It was Ruben Dias who caught me. They must have shown the wrong angle on television. It was Ruben Dias who kicked the back of my left calf.

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