Ever since Jack Grealish came through the academy and developed into the star that he is today, Aston Villa have undoubtedly been searching for ‘the next big thing’.
And amid the news that Ross Barkley is set to miss the next couple of weeks with a hamstring injury picked up in the 2-1 defeat to Brighton at the weekend, there’s perhaps never been a bigger chance for a rising youngster to make his mark on Dean Smith’s first-team.
The Athletic’s Gregg Evans wrote: “If ever there’s a positive to take from such a setback it’s that 19-year-old Jacob Ramsey might force his way back into the squad. Ramsey has been the 19th man for the last few games and restricted to a watching brief followed by a warm-down with the unused substitutes at full-time.
“Villa are very much about producing their own players moving forward and there’s no greater talent coming through the ranks than Ramsey right now.”
As Evans says, Villa have got a long and illustrious history of giving chances to their young talent, but whether it’s because of the kind of cut-throat nature of the Premier League and the riches that come with it, that window of opportunity has slowly reduced over the past year or so.
After all, Smith’s side only just avoided relegation back to the Championship last season on the final day, and blooding the team with inexperienced academy talents may have seen them drop down.
But such has been Villa’s superb start to the new season – they currently lie in seventh place in the top-flight and only five points off the top with a game in hand – Smith will surely never have a better chance to give Ramsey the chance to impress.
Things have been going well for the Midlands club, and it’s when the team is performing like this, that makes it so much easier for younger players to bed in and actually show their potential.
It’s all set up for Smith to finally bring through their potential heir to Grealish.