With Steven Gerrard’s reign as Aston Villa manager getting off to a perfect start in the shape of a 2-0 win last weekend, there is an unavoidable feel-good factor surrounding Villa Park at present.
Indeed, Villa are now being linked with a host of exciting players in the January transfer window, something which is seemingly a direct result of Gerrard’s appointment at the club, while the 41-year-old’s history of success with Rangers – leading the Ibrox side to their first Scottish Premiership title in a decade – also appears to bode well for the future of the manager’s new club.
On top of all of this, Aston Villa are currently enjoying the emergence of a number of incredibly exciting youth prospects, with the likes of 20-year-old Jacob Ramsey, 19-year-old Cameron Archer and 18-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka having all broken into the first-team this season.
However, it is perhaps 19-year-old Jaden Philogene-Bidace who is the most promising of all Villa’s young talents, with the winger appearing to boast the potential to flourish into a top-draw talent under the leadership of Gerrard.
Having made the move to Aston Villa back in the summer of 2018, Philogene-Bidace has enjoyed a rather remarkable rise to the first team, continuously impressing during his time with the various age groups at Bodymoor Heath.
Indeed, over his 15 appearances for the U18s, the left-winger scored a rather remarkable nine goals and registered one assist, before being promoted to the club’s U23 side, for whom he has bagged an even more impressive 13 goals and four assists over 26 fixtures.
While these rapid returns may well have surprised many at Villa, one person who was certainly not shocked by Philogene-Bidace’s rise is Pro:Direct academy manager Danny Payne, the man who brought the teenager to the Pro:Direct academy after unsuccessful spells with clubs such as Arsenal, West Ham, Brentford and Norwich City.
Speaking of the forward’s potential, Payne said: “Without doubt he was one of the most talented players we have ever had in our academy. He had a natural talent in possession and he had a great ability to get past players and beat them. He had an ability to create chances which sounds simple but it’s very, very difficult because the detail of his play was excellent.
“In terms of a player, he would play wide left and that was his best position for us, obviously where he plays for Villa now and he had that great ability to beat players on the inside or the outside. He showed excellent end product and statistics in terms of goals and assists in his time with us, he was an all-round really, really good kid.”
As such, it is perhaps not surprising that the likes of Manchester City, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Arsenal were all reported to be keeping a very close eye on the progression of the winger earlier this year, nor why former Aston Villa manager, Dean Smith, tipped Philogene-Bidace to make a career for himself at the very top level of the English game.
So, considering the sheer amount of potential the youngster quite clearly possesses, it would appear highly advisable for Gerrard to unleash the forward over the coming weeks and months, as, should the 19-year-old continue his current rate of development, he will undoubtedly come to save NSWE millions of pounds in transfer fees in his position further down the line.