Aston Villa have completed the signing of promising defender Josh Feeney.
Words: Andrew Maddox | @MaddoxJourno
Aston Villa have signed promising young defender Josh Feeney from Fleetwood Town.
The youngster appeared in The Cod Army’s first team squad for the first time aged 15 as well as captaining England’s Under-16s side. He joins Villa for a “significant undisclosed fee” that contains future add-ons. Feeney was also the subject of interest from a host of England’s biggest clubs, including Manchester United.
Feeney has his roots in the grassroots game, joining Fleetwood aged 12 from a local amateur side. He has also impressed massively in Fleetwood’s youth ranks and is seen as one of England’s brightest defensive prospects. He received his maiden international call-up in April and made a goal scoring start to his stay in the England ranks.
This news comes the same day as eight players from the FA Youth Cup winning squads extended their contracts at Villa Park. Like Feeney, many of those players were linked with major clubs across Europe. Goalkeeper Viljami Sinsalo was linked with both Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig, showing that Villa are finally going toe-to-toe with Europe’s elite for footballing talent again.
Most significantly, the move is the latest display of NSWE’s intent with the Villa academy. They have already invested significantly into attracting the likes of fellow hot prospects Louie Barry and Ben Chrisene over to Bodymoor Heath. However, they have also made sure to keep those players at the club even if they are linked with moves away. Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Carney Chuwuemeka rejected interest from RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund respectively to extend their stays at Villa.
All of these factors add up to Feeney, as well as Villa’s other promising youth players having bright futures with the club. With NSWE’s investment and the pathway Dean Smith has installed to the first team, all these players will have the opportunity to realise their potential at Villa.
Head of Youth Development Mark Harrison said:
“We are delighted that Josh has joined us.
“He is a centre-back with an awful lot of potential who had attracted a lot of interest and has also captained England at U16 level.
“We would like to thank Fleetwood Town for their professional manner during the process of Josh joining.
“We look forward to seeing how Josh develops over the next few years.”