In the run down towards the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final and afterwards, the writers here at The Claret and View are voting on who they believe deserve a number of awards, including ‘Player of the Season’, ‘Young Player of the Season’ and more.
For our third award, the ‘Young Player of the Season’ award, we whittled down the choices to Keinan Davis, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and U23 keeper Matija Sarkic.
Former Stevenage forward Keinan Davis finds himself The Claret and View’s Young Player of the Season.
From Low-League Outcast to Young Player of the Season
Keinan Davis joined Aston Villa in 2015 at the age of 17, joining the youth academy after unsuccessful youth spells with non-league Biggleswade Town and lowly Stevenage Town.
Growing up in Stevenage, Keinan started his footballing career in their academy before being released in 2015, before being picked up by then U18 coach Dave Northfield at Biggleswade Town.
In December 2015, Keinan was scouted during a friendly between Aston Villa’s youth side and Biggleswade Town’s U18 side, before going on a four-week trial with the claret and blue and eventually signing on an initial 18 month long professional contract.
At the time, Northfield labelled Keinan Davis as a “great young lad”, and a “gifted player” with “real talent”.
Davis made his first Aston Villa appearance in January of 2017, with Steve Bruce, who had not been at the club long at this point giving him the nod with an appearance from the bench in our 2-0 FA Cup loss against Tottenham Hotspur.
His league debut came in this season, playing for 87 minutes against Norwich at Villa Park – in a game that ended 4-2 to the home side.
From this point, Keinan was a regular in the match day squad due to injuries to the likes of Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan, with the youngster scoring his first Villa goal against Barnsley in September and a second just two games later in a 4-0 drubbing of Burton Albion.
Since his debut, Keinan has gone from strength to strength, appearing in a number of games for the England U20 squad, scoring two goals for them and putting his name on the map on a international stage.
Since the arrival of Lewis Grabban, and returns of Kodjia and Hogan from injury – Keinan has found his chances limited for Aston Villa – but for a debut season, the forward has certainly impressed and the future looks bright for our Young Player of the Season, now 20, who may be leaving the club on loan next season should Aston Villa gain promotion to the Premier League.