Aston Villa’s Cameron Archer, who has scored in every game that he’s started this season, is slowly staking his claim for a start in the Premier League.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
At the moment, Cameron Archer is a name on every Aston Villa fans lips.
There have been many that have come before him. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy was the baby-faced 16-year-old who made his Premier League debut before fading into obscurity. There was also Harvey Knibbs, a tall attacker who caught the eye of Steve Bruce. But this time, something about the ‘next big thing’ to come out of Aston Villa’s young, attacking ranks seems different.
A number of fans thought that last season’s FA Cup starlet Louie Barry would be taking the headlines alongside Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace this season, but after the former La Masia student was shipped out on loan to Ipswich Town, somewhat unfortunately in hindsight, there’s been room for others to grow outside of that spotlight. A handful of injuries to natural third choice forward Keinan Davis (since Wesley’s loan departure) have helped in that regard to.
Cameron Archer, for most, came out of the shadows. He was just another academy player that was being developed, loaned out to local sides – Archer spent part of last season at Solihull Moors – before his contract ran out and he found himself playing in the English Football Leagues.
The forward has been involved in the academy set up for 13 years, joining at the age of 6, before breaking into the senior squad this season. His senior debut came two years ago, at the age of 17, as he came off the bench to face Crewe Alexandra in the Carabao Cup.
Two years later, the Carabao Cup was Archer’s playground. In the opening tie of the competition, Aston Villa dispatched Barrow with a 6-0 scoreline, where Archer played a pivotal role – scoring a hat-trick on his first senior start for the club.
The striker of course, fielded interest from a number of League Two teams following his display – and it’s thought that Barrow themselves enquired about taking the player who had just knocked them out of the cup on loan. Archer had bigger ideas and believed that there was a genuine chance to break into the senior squad this season.
There have been plenty of performances from him in the youth sides too. In every game that Cameron Archer has started this season – across all levels – he has scored. His impressive form in the Papa John’s Trophy and Premier League 2 has kept him in and around senior match day squads, and kept him in contention to start against Chelsea in the next round of the cup.
And start he did. The first half saw Archer have two strong chances to give Aston Villa the lead, only to be foiled by Kepa in the Blues net. As Werner opened the scoring in the second forty-five, nobody expected that it would be the diminutive Archer who would leap like a salmon to head home an equaliser against the European Champions just a few minutes later.
Since then, Archer has continued to perform in youth competitions and also came off the bench for his Premier League debut at Old Trafford, as Aston Villa went on to secure a 1-0 win. At the time of writing, Archer has also scored on another start in the Papa John’s Trophy, a competition that has seen the Villa youth progress to the knockouts, this time against MK Dons.
The forward is on fire, filled with confidence and is ready to take any opportunities that may come his way. And with Aston Villa struggling with systems and more currently, those opportunities may come sooner than you might think.