With a significant number of talented youngsters already coming through, Aston Villa have another in midfielder Tommi O’Reilly.
From Jacob Ramsey shining with the first-team and being joined by Cameron Archer this season to the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Tim Iroegbunam out on loan along with many others, Villa have a crop of youngsters with big futures ahead.
The hope is that as many of them as possible eventually end up getting an opportunity at senior level, and they then take that and earn themselves a long-term future at Villa.
While that’s the ideal scenario, it’s unlikely it will go exactly according to plan, but O’Reilly is another hoping to make it a reality.
The 18-year-old stood out at a very early stage while playing at youth level, with his technical quality, passing and all-round composed and silky style seeing him emerge as a player who evidently had something about him.
Former VIlla boss Steven Gerrard identified that too as O’Reilly trained with the first-team and made the matchday squad on occasion last season while earning praise from our ex-manager.
Given our poor form to start this season, those opportunities naturally became more difficult to come by as more senior options were preferred to try and get us out of a slump and back on track.
With a change in management, there’s always the concern that certain players may not be as highly fancied or fit in with the new Coach’s plans, and we’re yet to see whether or not that’s the case for O’Reilly with Unai Emery.
It’s hoped that the youngster is given the chance to work with the rest of the squad over the World Cup break as we’re scheduled to spend time out in Dubai for a winter training camp. That in turn could give him an opportunity to catch Emery’s eye and while it might be a bit much to expect an immediate role given the level of competition in midfield, it’s hoped he’s recognised as a big talent for the future and gets the right loan move.
O’Reilly has bagged five goals in his last five games and so he’s added a new dynamic to his game and is showing consistency. Hopefully he can maintain that and continue to shine at youth level, as there is undoubtedly a prospect there with plenty of potential and talent.
With Jaden Philogene, Iroegbunam, Ramsey, Ben Chrisene, Kaine Kesler Hayden, Finn Azaz and Louie Barry all set to return from loan spells in the summer, coupled with the likes of Arjan Raikhy, Lamare Bogarde and Josh Feeney still at the club this year, there are a lot of young players at Villa hoping to impress.
Time will tell how many of them successfully establish themselves in Emery’s plans, but based on what we’ve seen of him thus far, O’Reilly has got a good a chance as any to make it at Villa if he can continue to improve, develop and maintain his consistency.