Jack Grealish is Aston Villa’s most famous graduate and returns with Man City as a £100m man… Jacob Ramsey is suited to Gerrard’s system while Jaden Philogene-Bidace is exciting fans… so, who are the club’s starlets looking to follow in his path?
- Aston Villa’s most famous graduate will return to Villa Park as a British record
- Jack Grealish cost Manchester City £100m when signing from Villa in summer
- Yet the academy in the Midlands has several unpolished gems ready and waiting
- From Louie Barry to Jacob Ramsey, Sportsmail takes a look at some of the stars
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.
Jack Grealish will return to Villa Park as the most expensive player in British football history
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.
Steve Gerrard has made a clear show of faith in Jacob Ramsey’s talent by picking him in side
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.
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.
Cameron Archer has played only 20 minutes in Premier League but is pushing hard to feature
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.
Villa are currently at a contract stalemate with Carney Chukwuemeka, who is in demand
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.
Jaden Philogene-Bidace was a regular of the first-team squad at the close of Dean Smith era
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.
Forward Louie Barry has been compared to Jamie Vardy by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
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