Despite sufferng his first defeat as Aston Villa manager in midweek with their 2-1 loss against Manchester City, Steven Gerrard has made a positive impact on the Midlands club by winning his first two games in charge after a poor run of five defeats prior to his arrival.
One player who could well become an important figure for Villa and Gerrard in the future is young striker Cameron Archer.
Despite being left out of the squad for Gerrard’s first three games in charge, the 19-year-old was beginning to get some senior Premier League minutes under his belt prior to the new manager’s arrival, with 24 minutes from three substitute appearances under his belt.
As a product of Villa’s youth academy, Archer has made 17 appearances for their under-18 side, scoring two goals and supplying one assist, as well as making 34 appearances for the under-23 team, for whom he has scored 16 goals and provided seven assists.
Labelled a “confident” player in the past by Kevin Phillips, the teenager has scored four goals in his six appearances so far for Villa’s first team, highlighting his attacking talents at such a young age.
Taking this into account and the fact that Danny Ings, who will turn 30 next July, is currently out injured and has a worrying history in that regard, Archer could not only be a good short-term attacking option for Gerrard to call upon if needed – he could also save Villa millions in potential future transfer fees as a long-term figure in the squad and a possible replacement for Ings.
Even though there have been some recent reports suggesting that fellow Villa youth starlet Carney Chukwuemeka may not sign a new deal at the club, it should be their main priority to secure Archer’s long-term future at Villa Park given that his current contract is set to expire in the summer.
If Gerrard doesn’t plan on giving Archer any senior minutes this season, perhaps it could be the best option for all parties if they loan him out to a club where he would be playing regularly, as long as they get him to sign a long-term deal at Villa first.