Amid all the transfer talk surrounding Jack Grealish at the moment, Aston Villa have another homegrown academy talent waiting in the wings to make his breakthrough in Carney Chukwuemeka.
The 17-year-old was handed his senior debut in the Premier League towards the end of last season by Dean Smith, making some late cameos against the likes of Spurs and Chelsea.
The Athletic’s Gregg Evans has now delivered some exciting news on the plans for Chukwuemeka heading into the new campaign, which gets underway next month. He said: “Carney Chukwuemeka is the one teenager who will definitely be a part of the first team. He’s starting to fill out and will soon be ready for the demands of Premier League football.”
That was echoed by Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece, who said: “Chukwuemeka will have a big role; he’ll be a contender to start in the Carabao Cup. We’ll see a lot of him over pre-season.”
The teenager has earned rave reviews for his performances at youth team level with Villa, and was even dubbed as a “scary talent” by Preece.
Writing in his post-match player ratings after seeing him score a hat-trick against Newcastle in the FA Youth Cup, Preece showered him with more praise, saying: “This was a Carney Chukwuemeka masterclass. It was a clinic in how to play an advanced midfield role with the 17-year-old oozing confidence and swagger. The hype’s real surrounding this kid who, as supporters know, has been around Dean Smith’s first team for a long time now. Villa’s No.10 started almost every attack and looked to hurt Newcastle at every opportunity.”
Former Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie has previously urged Smith to throw Chukwuemeka into the deep end with the first-team.
He exclusively told Football FanCast: “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.”