Aston Villa may be performing below par this term in the Premier League, but players not performing below par include a series of Villa’s young stars.
Collectively, Marc Albrighton, Nathan Delfouneso, and Ciaran Clark have made a total of 38 appearances so far this season and all of them are putting in consistently impressive performances.
Marc Albrighton began his career at local side, Mile Oak Monarchs, and was offered a trial at local rivals, West Bromwich Albion. He was rejected by the Baggies and subsequently signed for Villa at the age of eight.
In 19 appearances, Albrighton has scored four times and made four assists. On the international stage, Albrighton is currently a member of the Under-21 set up and made his debut in September last year. He scored within just 15 minutes after coming off the bench, marking a memorable day for the right winger. The 21-year old is now on Fabio Capello’s radar and if he can keep up the high standard of play, he will undoubtedly find himself called up for the senior squad in the near future.
Ciaran Clark is the type of utility player that managers love. He’s a strong, commanding defender but also has attacking talents which have seen him net 3 goals and gain 2 assists in his 13 league appearances this season.
The boy dubbed “Mr Versatile” captained England through the qualifying stages of the 2008 European Under 19 Championships. He played in five of the six qualifiers and scored once. Unfortunately, Clark missed the final tournament through injury. After being promoted to the Under 20 side, Clark gained the captaincy and scored in a friendly match against Italy in 2008. After stating his ambitions to play for his Republic of Ireland, through his mother’s nationality, Clark was called up to their senior squad in November 2010 for a friendly match against Norway.
Nathan Delfouneso already has an impressive collection of silverware to his name thanks to his youth and reserve career at Aston Villa. Three Premier Reserve League South titles, a Premier Academy League winners’ medal and a Victory Shield winners and top scorers medal from 2006, makes Nathan Delfouneso a very decorated player indeed, even though he is still only 19 years of age.
Delfouneso scored the final goal in a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers at the weekend to add to this seasons tally. Delfouneso is by no means a regular starter at Villa with tough competition from John Carew, Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor, but he will certainly play a huge part in Villa’s success in years to come. The youth international has represented England at every level except senior. He has scored a combined 18 goals in 43 appearances for England as he works his way through the ranks.
Delfouneso is a definite England star for the future and we could see a lot more of him at Aston Villa come the end of the season.
Aston Villa are getting a reputation this season for churning out young stars. Others worth a mention include Scottish international, Barry Bannan as well as Fabian Delph and Johnathan Hogg.
Follow The Youth Radar for all the latest updates on these young starlets.