A number of well known Aston Villa youth talents, including Callum O’Hare and Mitch Clark, are out of contract at the end of the season.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)

Whilst senior members of the squad look likely to not be offered a new contract come the end of the season, such as midfield veteran duo Mile Jedinak and Glenn Whelan, cult figure Alan Hutton and the likes of loaned out Ritchie de Laet – there’s a host of youth prospects, or talent, that are also out of contract when the season ends.

Just like in previous seasons, there’s bound to be some highly rated talent that is released – like last season’s disposal of highly-rated Oscar Borg amongst others.

This season, the likes of starlet Callum O’Hare, injury prone Harry McKirdy and Jordan Lyden, highly-rated Easah Suliman and Mitch Clark, forwards Harvey Knibbs and Kelsey Mooney are all out of contract when the end of the season rolls by.

Even Jacob Bedeau, who Aston Villa purchased for just under a million pounds at the age of 17, is out of contract at the end of the season without even having a sniff at the first team squad.

We’re delving into how likely the footballing talents of tomorrow are going to be at the club in the 2019/20 season.

Callum O’Hare

Probably the most likely player in the list to sign a new contract, Callum O’Hare has been around the first team for two seasons now – under both Steve Bruce and Dean Smith.

Seen by many as the possible homegrown replacement to Jack Grealish, the 20-year-old is technically sound but could work on his strength due to his diminutive stature.

Turning 21 before his contract is up, O’Hare is at the point in his footballing career where he will either be snapped up by the club he’s spent his youth career at, or come back to haunt us in a few years time like Preston North End’s Callum Robinson.

This season, O’Hare has had to recover from an awful injury and has played in the Premier League 2 nine times – scoring three goals and assisting in one. He also had a 60-or-so minute appearance in Aston Villa’s 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Swansea City in the F.A Cup.

Likelihood of contract extension: 8

Harry McKirdy

Harry McKirdy was acting as the clubs third choice striker in pre-season, behind Jonathan Kodjia and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, with Scott Hogan and Keinan Davis both injured and Tammy Abraham yet to be at the club.

But, on the brink of the transfer window closing in the summer, McKirdy suffered a dislocated shoulder, and rather than leaving on loan he spent the next few months on the treatment table and recovering.

He had impressed on loan at Crewe Alexandra last season, but has only appeared twice in the Premier League 2 this season so far.

The youngster, if fit, will need to leave on loan before the end of the window and truly impress if he is to remain at Aston Villa.

Likelihood of contract extension: 2

Jordan Lyden

23-year-old Jordan Lyden had been impressing on loan at Oldham Athletic before Dean Smith recalled him to get a closer look at the Australian and decide on whether a contract renewal was on the cards.

But the midfielder, who has played in the Premier League for Aston Villa under Remi Garde, injured himself within the first week back at Aston Villa.

With another lengthy spell on the sidelines ahead of him, and a severe lack of game time over a number of seasons – it’s unlikely that Lyden will be sticking around.

Likelihood of contract extension: 0

Easah Suliman

Easah Suliman has been touted as one of the next big things in English football ever since he’s been known by Aston Villa fans.

The defender has captained England at U-16, 17 and U-19 levels and is the first player of Asian heritage to do so, so he’s definitely got some pedigree.

With defenders somewhat hard to come by at the club presently, and Tommy Elphick out of contract at the end of the season, Easah could stake a claim for stepping up.

However, the youngster has struggled to impress in loans at Grimsby and FC Emmen – but has been recalled this January.

Likelihood of a contract extension: 5

Mitch Clark

Clark is on the other end of the spectrum to Suliman however, and is impressing on loan at League Two outfit Port Vale – with some fans calling for him to be recalled and played ahead of Neil Taylor at left-back.

Naturally a right-back, Clark can play comfortably across a back four and has caught the eye of a number of Villa fans since his appearances in pre-season.

The Welsh youth international has appeared 26 times for Port Vale this season and is likely to finish the season with them.

Likelihood of a contract extension: 7

Harvey Knibbs

Centre-forward Harvey Knibbs received a few outings under Steve Bruce in pre-season, and has played around ten times in the Premier League 2 this season, scoring one goal and assisting one.

For forwards in this group, it’s hard to shine due to the likes of Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis – who have experience within the first team – often picked ahead of them if they’re recovering from injury or trying to gain fitness.

Unfortunately for Harvey, it’s unlikely that he’ll be gifted a new contract simply because of the talent that’s ahead of him.

Likelihood of a contract extension: 3

Kelsey Mooney

Another centre-forward, Kelsey Mooney has spent the first half of the season on loan at Cheltenham Town – scoring two goals and assisting another two.

He’s also appeared a number of times for Aston Villa in the Premier League 2, and had bagged three goals in three appearances.

Due to Knibbs’ experience in pre-season, he’s probably ahead of Mooney, but this 19-year-old has performed better this season.

Likelihood of a contract extension: 3

Jacob Bedeau

Since signing for around £1,000,000 from Bury, Jacob Bedeau hasn’t been able to get close to the first team in regards to game time, but has spent the majority of his Aston Villa career training with them to try and improve his physicality.

Bedeau has appeared 12 times for Aston Villa in the Premier League 2, but with his centre-back partner Dominic Revan seemingly preferred as an option, Bedeau’s chance to break into the side is looking less and less.

Realistically, the only reason Bedeau would receive an extension is if he impresses enough before the end of the season – however his price tag should come into play when a decision is made.

Likelihood of a contract extension: 5

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