There hasn’t been too much for Aston Villa fans to be optimistic about this season but the side’s youth team seems to be in very good hands, with Daniel Johnson the next talent likely to progress into the first team.
The 20-year-old scored a superb brace in the club’s last Under-21 match against Everton, which suggests that regardless of whether Villa stay up this season, he’ll be in the side regularly for the next campaign.
It should be massively pleasing and encouraging for the club because Johnson had a spell on loan at Yeovil this season, which didn’t exactly go to plan as he played in five matches for the League One outfit and didn’t register a single goal.
He’s had a relatively solid upbringing at Aston Villa which suggests he won’t be out of his depth if the club even decided to throw him into the first team by the end of the current season.
He played in all but one of the club’s reserve matches in the last campaign and was drafted into the first team squad on six different occasions, although he didn’t make his Premier League debut.
As a midfielder he offers control, creativity and forward thinking on the ball, which are vital skills for any young middle man looking to make it in the top league.
How he progresses from this point is a little unclear because his contract is up for review this summer. However, his performances away from the Villa first team suggest that a contract extension is on the cards rather than being released.
His versatility is also something which is going to make him a good first team squad option. He can play centrally, on the left side or up front in the pocket behind a main striker.
This gives the youth team coaches and Paul Lambert more options and gives him more of a chance to impress, because he can feature in more than one way for the club which enhances his chances of being consistent.
The sensible route for the club to take would be to leave him where he is, let him mature and gain more confidence before maybe giving him more of a chance next season.
Villa fans, what do you make of him?
image: © Ben Sutherland