After seeing their first-team round off the Premier League season in style on Sunday, Aston Villa’s youngsters added to the feel-good factor surrounding the club by lifting the FA Youth Cup on Monday night.
Villa ran out 2-1 winners over Liverpool, as goals from Ben Chrisene and Brad Young were enough to ensure the Midlands club got their hands on the trophy for the first time since 2002.
And while much of the hype this season has been around the likes of Louie Barry – who scored in the FA Cup against Liverpool’s senior side – and Carney Chukwuemeka – who made his first-team debut at Spurs – it was Young who arguably stole the show on Sunday.
The 18-year-old forward was full of energy and dynamism, and earned his just rewards when he stepped up to take a penalty after he was initially tripped by Liverpool’s Billy Koumetio.
The goal was Young’s 21st in all competitions, and another reminder to Villa’s first-team boss Dean Smith that the club have got some incredible talents on their hands in the academy.
And, writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley Preece gave him a nine, saying: “The 18-year-old from Solihull ran Liverpool ragged all evening. He must have been watching Ollie Watkins this season as he pressed his centre-backs into submission.
“Young was like a man possessed and he got his goal after a run in behind off Lindley’s free-kick to win a penalty. Young dispatched in similar vein to Bruno Fernandes for his 21st goal of the season. Barry looked right in the mood as well as he danced past two before striking off the post as he was off balance. It was an all-round performance and he looked a threat with Villa letting Liverpool back into it late on. Young’s development is one to keep an eye on next season.”
And that last line there on Young being “one to keep an eye on” is certainly something Villa fans should be all over during pre-season and when the new Premier League campaign gets under way.
With reports linking Wesley with a move away from Villa Park this summer, there’s certainly an opportunity for the 18-year-old to potentially stake his claim to be more involved with Smith’s first-team, along with someone like Louie Barry.