Aston Villa gem Cameron Archer bagged a stunning hat-trick as the Midlands outfit defeated Burton Albion in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.
The 19-year-old was in ruthless form at the Pirelli Stadium, delivering an absolute goalscoring masterclass in front of first-team manager Dean Smith, his assistant Craig Shakespeare and sporting director Johan Lange.
Having gone two goals down, it was the young forward who kickstarted the comeback ten minutes before the break.
The Walsall-born teenager fired a low-driven effort past the home goalkeeper before doubling his tally to put Villa into the lead just after the hour mark. He beat the Brewers’ backline with a nicely-timed run before slamming the ball into the net once again.
He completed his hat-trick with less than 20 minutes to go, it was yet another clinical and impressive finish from the striker.
BirminghamLive reporter Ashley Preece described Archer’s display as “absolutely sensational” in his post-match ratings column.
“It was finishing of the highest order with Archer being applauded off by Smith, Shakespeare, Danks and Lange in the stands. Archer was levels above here, whacking home his trio past Balcombe in the Burton net,” he added. “Villa need to get his contract sorted now. His development since the summer has been staggering. The boy’s some finisher.”
It merely continues his electric form in 2021/22, having been given a proper opportunity for the senior side in the Carabao Cup, where he bagged another hat-trick against lowly Barrow and a magnificent header against the Champions of Europe, Chelsea.
The Claret and Blue Army have witnessed many a young talent break through the system and become regular first-team stars over the years, with the likes of Gareth Barry and Jack Grealish being prime examples.
But it’s been a while since a proper frontman went onto become a hero at Villa Park – perhaps the last being Gabby Agbonlahor. Whilst Archer and the former Lions star aren’t like-for-like, the young prospect could well be the man to break the trend.
Archer has “genuine pace” but is also “stocky”, according to Preece, so he can combine sheer speed and physicality to dominate opposing defences for years to come, and just like Agbonlahor, he had to go out on loan to the lower divisions before getting his chance.
The 19-year-old marksman enjoyed a successful stint at local side Solihull Moors, where his former boss Jimmy Shan waxed lyrical about his ability.
“He’s a centre-forward. His movement is excellent but it’s his pace that makes him such a threat,” he said. “He was rapid, let me tell you. He doesn’t look quick but he just pulls away from defenders with ease. He’s a bright and intelligent guy and very inquisitive.”
Also described as a “major talent” by Guardian journalist John Brewin, Villa boss Smith could genuinely unearth the next big thing in the Midlands by unleashing Archer more frequently.
The teenage sensation could be the first homegrown talent since Agbonlahor to go onto greatness in the senior side.