It’s a great time to be an Aston Villa fan. Unai Emery has them punching above their weight to challenge the Premier League’s established elite, while the future looks bright with a number of talented youth products on the cusp of breakthroughs.
Football Manager 2024 is out now and with it a fully detailed database of future superstars.
We’ve taken a closer look at the Aston Villa’s seven wonderkids on Football Manager 2024 (via FM Scout).
The England Under-18 defender joined Aston Villa’s academy from Fleetwood Town back in 2021.
Feeney has continued his development in the youth ranks and is yet to make his senior debut, though he looks a big part of the club’s future plans after extending his contract in the summer.
Academy Manager Mark Harrison responded:
“As somebody who has already had first-team experience and captained England at youth level by the age of 18, it is clear to see that Josh has undoubted potential and we are really looking forward to seeing how he will develop over the coming years.”
A product of Dundee United’s academy, Smith made the switch to Aston Villa in January 2022 to continue his development in Birmingham.
The 18-year-old defender had a handful of Scottish Premiership appearances under his belt but has since turned out in the Premier League 2 for Villa’s Under-21s.
“We really do think he can be a top player in the future at the highest level and that can be in the English Premier League,” said former Dundee United boss Tam Courts when the youngster departed Tannadice Park.
“The first of many Premier League starts for Tim Iroegbunam,” tweeted Aston Villa’s official account after Iroegbunam featured in a 2-0 win over Norwich City in May 2022.
But the midfielder, who was evidently well thought of, is still awaiting further opportunities. He spent last season out on loan at Championship strugglers Queens Park Rangers but has only been on the fringes of Unai Emery’s squad since returning to his parent club.
The midfielder joined Villa’s youth set-up from Celtic in the summer, having signed for a reported £1.2million fee.
Borland is still only 16 years of age so it may be a couple more years before he pushes for first-team contention, but it will be worth seeing how he develops. He’s notched four assists in six appearances in the Under-18 Premier League this season.
— 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗔𝗩𝗙𝗖 𝗙𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗳𝘂𝗹 (@theavfcfaithful) August 3, 2023
Local lad Young signed scholarship terms last summer. He’s trained with the first team and featured in friendlies but is yet to make his senior debut.
The 17-year-old represents England at youth level and has long been earmarked by youth scouts as one to watch in the coming years.
He’s described as a “creative and skilful player who can play anywhere along the forward line” on Aston Villa’s official website.
The most established of Villa’s current crop of wonderkids, Colombia international Duran made the £14million switch from MLS club Chicago Fire last year.
The 19-year-old has had a few eye-catching moments, but he’s largely had to bide his time as an understudy to the in-form Ollie Watkins.
There have been suggestions that Duran is frustrated with his lack of playing time. He’s deleted anything Villa-related off his social media profiles, but Unai Emery denies there’s a rift.
Pau Torres with a ball so magnificent you could marry it.
Jhon Jáder Durán with a first time finish. Earlier this week, he earned his first goal in the Premier League and NOW a first goal in Europe.
A reminder that he’s 19. pic.twitter.com/84JLPhPuQD
— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) August 31, 2023
Another young Scot, Villa signed Wilson from Rangers in the summer of 2022.
The 17-year-old forward represents Scotland at Under-21 level and is continuing his development in Villa’s youth ranks but is yet to make his senior debut.
Wilson is definitely a starlet worth getting excited about. He signed his first professional contract in January and has been wildly prolific at youth level, with 22 goals in 18 appearances for the Under-18s.