By Jonty Banks

23rd Feb, 2023 | 7:00pm

View: Omari Kellyman could be next star in waiting at the Aston Villa academy

Omari Kellyman has quickly established himself as the next player off the conveyor belt of talented footballers that Aston Villa academy has produced in recent times.

The 17-year-old forward has been a bright light for the Under-21s in the last fortnight, with two goals in his last two games – including a smart finish against an extremely strong Leeds United side which would have likely left a strong impression on the Villa hierarchy.

After making his switch from Derby County to the West Midlands in February 2022, the Northern Irish attacker has quickly established himself in Villa’s ranks with a string of strong performances.

Kellyman’s form for the Young Lions led to him being offered a first professional contract with the club in September of last year, with academy manager Mark Harrison saying: “We have been very pleased with his development so far which has seen him, at the age of 16, make his debut in the EFL Trophy. 

“He has a lot of potential as an attacking midfielder and we look forward to seeing him fulfil it.”

The young starlet is the latest of bright prospects to highlight his credentials at Bodymoor Heath, with fellow 17-year-olds Kadan Young and Rory Wilson lighting up the stage at several youth-team levels.

Kellyman was the match-winner in the Under-21s tight 1-0 win over Stoke City a fortnight ago with a superb first-time finish from outside the box on the hour mark. The goal helped propel the Young Lions onto the cusp of the play-off spots in the Premier League 2 Division 2 table, before falling to a late 2-1 defeat to Leeds.

Against the Whites, who fielded first-team regular Brenden Aaronson and club-record signing Georginio Rutter in their starting XI, it was, in fact Kellyman who made the most significant impact as he scored with his first touch of the match after coming off the bench at half-time.

His cameo was a promising sign that he possesses the ability to make the step up in quality and hold his own in big-pressure matches. Character traits such as this usually go a long way to making a successful professional footballer, so the early signs suggest Kellyman is one to watch in the future.

It will be exciting to see how he progresses with the Under-21s in the coming months, but the Villa academy may well have found yet another gem who has a very bright future at the club.

In other Aston Villa news, the club want to reunite with a former player for a fee in excess of £40million in the summer.