Kelsey Mooney could become Villa’s next academy graduate

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Kelsey Mooney could be the next player to make his way into the Aston Villa first-team.

The 20-year-old is back in the fold at Villa Park after returning from a loan spell with Cheltenham Town and will be out to make his way into Dean Smith’s plans.

A striker who can also play on the left wing, Mooney played nine times for Cheltenham in League Two, and scored once, while also providing an assist.

He has been in electric form for Villa’s youth team, too, scoring a total of 14 goals in 29 games for the Under-18s before making the step up to the Under-23s.

Even there, he has been hitting the back of the net, scoring five times in 27 outings, including a strike in a 5-1 thumping of Manchester United.

It should not be a surprise that Mooney is attempting to break through and make it as a striker, given that he is the son of Tommy Mooney.

Mooney Sr started off at Villa before embarking on something of a nomadic career where he played for the likes of Watford – for over seven years –  Swindon Town, Oxford United and UD Marbella.

He ended his career in 2008, having scored 185 professional goals, and his son admits that he was always likely to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Speaking to Gloucestershire Live in September, he said: “Yes, 100 per cent. I used to go and watch all of his games, for many years, so watching it day in, day out and even going to training with him sometimes, it just had to happen.”

His father is now loans manager at Villa and will have had significant input into Mooney’s move to Cheltenham, where he scored his first senior goal.

He will surely not be getting any favours as he looks to rise through the ranks for Villa but his goalscoring record is such that Mooney may not need them.

Villa have a long track record of promoting from within, with the likes of Jack Grealish and Andre Green two academy graduates currently playing for the first-team.

As Villa’s season progresses, and the club looks to lighten the load on Tammy Abraham, the current top scorer with 20 goals, don’t be surprised to see Mooney called into the first-team squad.

After all, goals are in his blood.