With injuries to members of the first team squad, and rotation likely to happen, we’ve picked out a few members of the Under 23 squad that may get a senior call up for this game.

Words: Simon Lines | @simonlines


Aston Villa travel to Craven Cottage this weekend to face Sky Bet Championship side Fulham in the third round proper of this season’s FA Cup.

Buoyed by a much needed win on New Years Day against Burnley, Dean Smith’s side face Scott Parker’s with a raft of injuries on top of an ongoing, gruelling schedule which sees the Villans compete on three separate fronts within the next week.

The number of games, on top of the injuries, means that it is highly likely that fans will see a much changed Aston Villa line-up heading down to the capital tomorrow – which could provide minutes for some of the highly-rated youngsters currently plying their trade with Mark Delaney’s Under 23 side.

We’ve taken a look at some of the youngsters vying for a spot in Dean Smith’s match day squad.

Tyreik Wright

Tyreik is one of the young lions that has recently been pictured training with the first-team squad this week at Bodymoor Heath.

An Irish-born, tricky winger who is able to play on both sides that has found his place in the Under 23 squad over the past twelve months following his graduation from the academy.

The 18-year-old winger is a regular for the Irish Under 19 team and has been in impressive form for Aston Villa in recent weeks, netting in the last Premier League 2 clash with Swansea City.

Jacob Ramsey

Jacob is a youngster that is highly rated amongst all of the coaching staff at Aston Villa, and is a local lad – born in Great Barr – that plays as an attacking midfielder.

Ramsey has already made his senior debut for Aston Villa, replacing Conor Hourihane as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 home reverse against West Bromwich Albion last year.

He has an impressive dribble, is able to carry the ball and take the game to the opposition, and also has an eye for goal.

Ramsey has appeared on numerous occasions for England youth sides, and continues to impress for the Under 23’s.

Jack Clarke

Clarke has for a long while been the stand-out performer in the Under 23 set-up.

Jack, who captains the side at times and represents the Republic of Ireland at youth level, often dominates the game via his box-to-box midfielder role, and excels at breaking up play, driving at the opposition and picking out a pass. He boasts a good scoring record too.

At 20-years-old, Clarke will hope to push for a place in the senior squad or seek a loan move to enhance his experience of senior football.

Indiana Vassilev

Vassilev has certainly impressed over the last twelve months.

The American born attacker has developed well in a short space of time following his graduation from the academy.

Primarily an attacking midfielder, Indiana Vassilev is also able to play across the whole line of the attacking midfielder – and at times has operated as a striker.

He is an all-action attacker, who offers a lot of endeavour and desire to the team and he is certainly pushing for a place in Dean Smith’s squad.

A raw talent, with a long way to go, but Aston Villa’s hierarchy are quietly watching on in excitement due to his continued progress in Delaney’s side.

Cameron Archer

Archer is another young striker who can operate on the wing, and fans may remember that he made his senior debut after coming on as a late substitute in Aston Villa’s second round Carabao Cup victory over Crewe Alexandra earlier this season.

A pacy forward that often plays off shoulder of the last defender, Cameron has struggled for form recently but the club still rate him as a big talent – and with Villa’s worsening striker crisis following Wesley’s injury, Archer could yet find himself in and amongst the squad.


The FA Cup game may provide one or two of the youngsters with that first taste of senior action, especially due to injuries and a busy calendar of matches. However, even if the youngsters aren’t given a chance this time it goes to show that they are knocking on the door and continue how they are playing at present and Dean Smith will be left with no choice but to give some of the Young Lions’ their chance within the first team set up as Villa look to find their next young talisman. 

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