With reports emerging that Aston Villa have decided against signing Ross Barkley on a permanent deal this summer, Dean Smith must surely consider giving Aaron Ramsey a chance to shine in the first-team.
Amid a disappointing campaign on loan at Villa Park, it’s now being suggested that Smith’s side will wave goodbye to Barkley at the end of the season, thus opening the door for a new number ten to come through.
And in the 18-year-old Ramsey, Villa have got a superb talent on their hands.
Smith described him and his brother Jacob as “two talented players who we believe have a lot of potential”, with Aaron actually even captaining England’s U17 side previously.
The Athletic revealed that he’s more of a “fiery character” than Jacob, with one source saying he “wears his heart on his sleeve”. With the likes of Grealish, and even more recently Louie Barry, Villa have got a couple of outstanding academy break-outs.
According to England’s U17s coach Kevin Betsy, one of Ramsey’s strong points is his leadership qualities.
He said: “Aaron deserved the armband because of his performances for his club and his character around the place. We try to develop leaders across our pathway… but you can’t just talk about it and say ‘be a leader’. We have to give them the opportunity to do it and feel it on the grass. Aaron was given that opportunity.”
Bringing the younger Ramsey into the fold, just when his older brother is beginning to make his mark – Jacob’s played 15 times in the Premier League already this season – would help kick-start a new era at Villa Park.
The likes of Barry, the two Ramsey’s and even players like Kaine Kesler and Carney Chukwuemeka are all knocking on the door for a first-team opportunity.
But with Barkley set to go, it’s Aaron who could ensure Villa’s burgeoning academy takes their chance to impress.