By Jonty Banks

6th Mar, 2023 | 4:10pm

Academy prospect Josh Feeney could be the heir to Tyrone Mings in the Aston Villa first-team

Aston Villa academy prospect Josh Feeney has all the right tools to be a successful Premier League centre-back, and he could be the long-term heir to Tyrone Mings in the first team.

The centre-back, who turns 18 in May, has been yet another success story of the Bodymoor Heath academy with some strong form for the Under-21s in the Premier League 2 this season – making 11 appearances and netting two goals.

Feeney was well-regarded by previous Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard, who awarded him his first-team bow in pre-season friendlies against Walsall and Leeds United and took him on the plane for the summer tour of Australia.

Gerrard admitted the young centre-back had a “huge future” in the West Midlands [Birmingham Live], but the young defender is yet to see any action under new boss Unai Emery since his arrival before the New Year.

The towering defender is a strong and capable leader on the pitch but isn’t afraid of a tackle when it comes down to the crunch. In many areas of his game, he is similar to ex-Villa captain Mings, and he wouldn’t go far wrong by looking at footage of the 29-year-old in action to develop his trade further.

The highly-touted youngster is destined for a loan move in the 2023/24 season, and he must be given an opportunity to ply his trade in the Championship or League One.

Fellow academy defender Lamare Bogarde has already passed the litmus test since moving to Bristol Rovers in the January transfer window, and Feeney could really benefit from a stint away from B6.

First-team minutes are going to be hard to come by at Villa Park in the coming months due to the returning Diego Carlos, but The Athletic’s Dan Bardell told Villa News that Feeney could be the next cab off the rank if any injuries curse Emery’s side.

Having captained England at Under-16 level and after thriving for the Young Lions this season, the future is bright for Feeney at Aston Villa.

In other Aston Villa news, one loanee has put his hand up for a first-team return after a ‘brilliant’ Championship display.