After seeing the transfer window shut on Tuesday night, Aston Villa boss Dean Smith will be quickly turning his attentions towards his side’s next Premier League game against Chelsea.
While they may not have got the midfield signing they seemed to want – Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse was of course one of their main transfer targets – they will be getting Morgan Sanson when he returns from injury.
But while the January signing will be hoping to finally make his mark on the first-team after seeing his first few months interrupted, Smith should instead look to unleash Carney Chukwuemeka.
The 17-year-old has already been pictured in Aston Villa’s first-team colours this season, appearing in both the Premier League and Carabao Cup.
Question remarks remain about whether he will be a permanent member of the starting line-up when Villa get all their players back from various issues, but Chukwuemeka certainly has the natural talent and ability to keep his place.
The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece has already suggested “Chukwuemeka will have a big role” to play, while former Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie has previously urged Smith to throw Chukwuemeka into the deep end with the first-team.
He exclusively told FFC: “I kind of go off the fans’ views – I know he’s been scoring goals in the Under-18s. When someone is scoring goals, they’ve showed they’re a massive threat, it does attract football clubs and when you’re getting Manchester City and United hovering around the vicinity and are trying to take the young players away.
“This is where I feel if he’s that good we need to see him filtered through to the first team especially at this stage of the season. We’ve seen the likes of Louie Barry, who I felt would have had more of a chance this season, and I would put him in that category. I’d like to see more of him playing, because if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”
The 6 foot 1 starlet is beginning to fill out in his physical frame, and that only bodes well for his chances of acclimatising to the rigours of the Premier League.
He’s already got a taster of football at the highest level. Now it’s time for Smith to unleash him, even despite the impending return of Sanson.
Meanwhile, Villa had a howler on transfer deadline day…