With the second most successful reserve side of the original Premier Reserve League format, Aston Villa are known for producing quality talent. We’ve profiled some names to look out for in the future.

Words by Simon Lines | @simonlines

Aston Villa have the second most successful reserve side of the original Premier Reserve League format, winning five regional titles and one national one – sitting behind Manchester United in historical rankings.

It has aided in the development of players such as Garry Cahill, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Jack Grealish – along with many others who have either gone on to successfully play for Aston Villa, or have carved out good careers in either the Premier League or the Football Leagues.

It has always been renowned as a hugely successful academy. With the club as a whole going through some challenging times in recent years, the academy has also suffered.

The academy set up is currently going through a transitional period with a number of players recently released, the head of the academy system Sean Kimberley leaving, and an infrastructure change that is being led by Aston Villa’s sporting director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, or ‘Suso’ as he is affectionately known.

With the regular U23 season coming to an end, we’ve decided to highlight some of the key players with potential coming through the academy, some of whom we will hopefully see wearing the claret and blue for the first team in the coming years, following in the footsteps of the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and current captain Jack Grealish. 

We’ve also rated these players out of five in regards to how likely they may be able to make the step up to first team action.

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 Jack Clarke

First Team Potential:

Jack turned 20 this year and is currently the Captain of the U23 side.

He is primarily a defensive midfielder, but likes to play box-to-box, creating chances and at times scoring goals. 

A local lad of Irish descent, Jack will be hoping to make the step up into the Aston Villa first team next season. He has already been training with the first team but has yet to make a match day squad. 

He is an industrious player with undoubted talent, and a mainstay of the squad. 

The Verdict: Stoke City U23s 3-2 Aston Villa U23s

Jacob Ramsey

First Team Potential:

Jacob is a 17-year-old player who came through the club’s homegrown school development programme, and a local lad growing up in Great Barr.

He is an attacking midfielder and has impressed this season in the U18 and U23 sides, as well as the Premier League Cup and the FA Youth Cup.

Ramsey has been involved with the first team on occasions this season, making his senior debut for the club in the 2-0 loss reverse fixture against West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park in February. 

He is highly rated at the club by a number of people including Dean Smith, and expect him to be in and around the senior squad next season.

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Indiana Vassilev

First Team Potential:

Indiana is an 18-year-old American attacking midfielder of Bulgarian heritage.

He plays primarily as an attacking winger and joined Aston Villa from the IMG Academy in October 2017.

He is an American U18 international and the pacey attacker is highly thought of at Villa Park and Bodymoor Heath.

Vassilev has made huge strides this season, by becoming a regular in the U23 side as more senior youth players were sent out on loan.

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Tyreik Wright

First Team Potential:

Tyreik has also had a breakthrough 2018/19 season by regularly featuring for the U23 side as well as the U18s.

Tyreik is an 18-year-old, quick and tricky inside forward.

He joined Aston Villa in 2018 from Lakewood, a side in County Cork in the Republic of Ireland, and is capped at U18 level for the Republic. 

He has often been called upon by coach Mark Delaney  as an attacking outlet late on in games.

Image result for jake walker aston villa

Jake Walker

First Team Potential:

Jake is an 18-year-old who plays primarily at right-back. 

He has been a near ever present for the Aston Villa U23 side this season, playing in nineteen games. 

A strong full-back who likes to get up the pitch, his playing style is reminiscent of his coach, Mark Delaney. 

This is echoed with how consistent his performances have been this season.

There are many others that we could have covered.

It has been a tough season for the Aston Villa youth sides this term, with key players out on loan and the U23 side patched up with a number of U18 players that were in essence, thrown in at the deep end.

However, they managed to finish in a respectable 5th placed position in the Premier League 2, before unfortunately losing to Southampton in their Play-Off Semi-Final. 

The future is, as always, bright at Aston Villa, and Mark Delaney will be hoping for an improvement hen the next season gets underway, with a new-look side as many players have been recently released from their contracts with the club. 

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