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Aston Villa could have their own Raheem Sterling in Ajani Burchall

Aston Villa could have their own Raheem Sterling in academy starlet Ajani Burchall.

Having signed him from Championship side Bournemouth in the summer, it’s fair to say that the 16-year-old has already marked himself out as one of the brightest prospects at the club.

In a profile piece done by The Guardian‘s Paul Doyle for their Next Generation 2021 series earlier this month, he said: “Born in Bermuda, Burchall moved to England at a young age and joined Villa in July 2021 from Bournemouth. Last season he became the third youngest senior debutant in the south coast club’s history when he came off the bench against Huddersfield.

“A fast, skillful and smart winger, he has been quick to make an impact at Villa, scoring a hat-trick in his second appearance in the U18 Premier League and also collecting three assists in his first four games for the club.”

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Steve Cook, Burchall’s former teammate at Bournemouth, said after the youngster’s first team debut for the club: “You could see how special a player he is. His first involvement was checked his shoulder, cut across a player and won his foul. For a 16-year-old, that awareness, that knowhow, I think the club have produced a really good player.”

Like Sterling, the teenager seems to have that eye for goal which stands him in good stead in this era of modern wingers being the team’s chief goalscorers – the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane at Liverpool of course doing that better than most.

At just 16, the 5 foot 9 Burchall still has plenty of time to grow and develop, but it’s a measure of his considerable talent that he’s already dominating the under-18 scene for Villa.

Although he’s predominantly played on the right for Villa, he has also operated from the left previously at Bournemouth, and that interchangeability should catch Dean Smith’s eye at senior level.

Sterling made his Premier League debut for Liverpool aged just 17 years, three months and 16 days, so Burchall still has a bit of time left to either match or even better that feat.

One thing is for certain, the teenage starlet could be ready to make a huge impact for Villa if he continues to progress at academy level.

Meanwhile, Villa are eyeing a move for this Championship ace…

Article title: Aston Villa could have their own Raheem Sterling in Ajani Burchall

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