Aston Villa manager Dean Smith must avoid risking another Carney Chukwuemeka nightmare with fellow academy starlet Louie Barry.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that Bayern Munich are leading the race to sign Chukwuemeka this summer, and it has now emerged that the youngster is keen on leaving Villa Park because of “broken promises”.
With Barry also knocking on the door for a first team chance, having played in the FA Cup four months ago, Smith must ensure that Villa don’t face the prospect of losing another one of their brightest young talents.
Former Villa ace Lee Hendrie has already revealed his disappointment and frustration at seeing Barry remain on the sidelines, exclusively telling Football FanCast: “I’m really disappointed that he hasn’t featured, not even really on the bench since that Liverpool game with the fabulous goal that he scored. He reminds me of a young Michael Owen in the fact that he’s very slight, small, but he’s very quick, and I’m surprised that he hasn’t been given a bit more of a chance since that game.
“I just feel that he should now be getting into the first–team squad, being on the bench and getting thrown on for the last 20 minutes, relieving a bit of pressure, just because he’s got that pace that he can burn off.”
Giving young players the confidence that they have a genuine pathway into the first team is vital to keeping them happy, and Smith already seems to have dropped the ball with Chukwuemeka, who delivered a stunning reminder of his qualities with a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup semi-final against Newcastle recently.
Barry has already shown with his goal against Liverpool that he is capable of making an impact, but the longer he continues without getting a chance to prove himself in the first team at Premier League level, the greater the chances of him feeling like his career prospects are best served elsewhere.
Smith must desperately avoid letting that happen, or else Villa fans will understandably be fuming if two of the club’s brightest young talents elect to move on.