This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Earlier this week, Aston Villa were linked with a move for Bolton Wanderers’ young midfielder Dennis Politic after his impressive start to the season in League One.
The reports have suggested that Dean Smith is keeping a close eye on the 19-year-old ahead of a potential January move, and given he can play on either wing his versatility could prove to be valuable at Villa Park.
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It remains to be seen how accurate these reports are, but they do come as a surprise due to the age and standard at which the midfielder has been playing.
Aside from this season’s showing, his only other taste of the men’s game was last term whilst on loan at Salford City in the National League as they gained promotion to the Football League.
Meanwhile, the Villa boss has hardly given an opportunity to any of the young prospects the club holds in their ranks.
Of the current senior squad, not one has come through the youth system barring club captain Jack Grealish, that’s quite poor considering the level of talent the academy is supposed to have.
Even in the Carabao Cup, they haven’t started – a ten-minute cameo here and there isn’t enough to see what Jacob Ramsey can do for example.
The 18-year-old could be the sort of attacking player they’ve lacked this season, but we’ll never know as he won’t get the opportunity. Instead, Smith has pushed Jack Grealish forward potentially at the expense of his international dreams.
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Across the U18 and U23 squads, Ramsey has scored 21 goals and assisted eight more in 56 matches all from midfield, per Transfermarkt.
If he can’t buy a genuine opportunity amidst these links to youngsters of other clubs – they also have been mooted with a move for young Coventry City defender Sam McCallum this season – then what hope do any of those in the academy in B6 have?
That will undoubtedly ring true unless Smith changes his attitude in the near future, but at the end of the day, it is a double-edged sword as the 48-year-old will want to put out a side that has the best chance of winning.