Aston Villa could have a future star on their hands.
Earlier this week, the Midlands outfit handed a professional deal to young centre-back Josh Feeney after his impressive performances for the U18s and U23s earned a spot in first-team training.
“We are really pleased Josh has signed his first professional contract after a very promising first season with us which led to him being involved in the first team,” academy manager Mark Harrison told the club’s official website.
“He put in some excellent performances last season which also saw him captain England at Under-17 level.”
Feeney, who has been described as “highly-rated” by Birmingham Mail journalist Ashley Preece, is clearly well thought of by Gerrard and his coaching staff, so could he have a part to play in 2022/23?
Villa ended last season 14th in the Premier League standings and as a result, the club have taken steps to bolster the playing squad, in which Diego Carlos has been added to the backline, joining Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, Calum Chambers and Kortney Hause.
However, two of those names are currently injured, leaving Gerrard light on options to kickstart the new campaign; and this is perhaps why the Midlanders have been linked to further central defensive additions.
The Liverpool legend has been linked with a swoop for Calvin Bassey, who impressed under him during their time together at Rangers, whilst a raid on another one of his former clubs has also been mooted, with Joe Gomez a reported target.
Gomez is expected to sign a new contract at Anfield, so that deal could prove hardest to complete this window.
Both, particularly the latter, would cost several millions of pounds and certainly a large chunk of the transfer budget, so perhaps it could be wise to turn to the academy with Feeney surely the first in line, given the faith shown in him this week.
Also lauded as having “an awful lot of potential” by Harrison, it would make sense as the teenage sensation could save Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens a lot of money.
Therefore, Gerrard must utilise Feeney in the first-team this season. He may not play a part in the starting XI but having him around leaders like Mings will only help his career and subsequently, the club too.