By Jonty Banks

17th Mar, 2023 | 12:10pm

Cameron Archer can prove Unai Emery wrong about Aston Villa loan decision with England Under-21s success

Cameron Archer and Jacob Ramsey have been rewarded for their fine form since graduating from the Aston Villa academy by being named in the England Under-21s squad for the upcoming international break.

Ramsey, who has been a mainstay in Unai Emery’s first team since arriving at Villa Park, and Middlesbrough loanee Archer were both named in Lee Carsley’s squad to face France and Croatia over the next fortnight.

Archer will look to build on his near-perfect record for the England youth team, having scored four goals from four games, and will be vying for a spot in the starting line-up against Cole Palmer and Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun.

The opportunity with the Three Lions setup will provide yet another chance for the 21-year-old to prove his worth to Emery, with his future beyond the end of this season still unclear.

Despite thriving at every level he has played at, from Villa’s academy, to scoring a hat-trick for the first-team in the EFL Cup and even leaving goalscoring trails during loan spells at Preston and Middlesbrough, Archer has failed to establish himself as a regular starter at Aston Villa.

The youngster currently finds himself behind Ollie Watkins and Jhon Duran in the pecking order at Villa Park but could blast his way back into Emery’s thinking with a successful international break.

During the Premier League hiatus, Emery is likely to spend time mulling over his transfer strategy for the summer and whether signing a striker is a number one priority at the end of the season.

With a wide forward and a central midfielder likely to be the number one priorities this summer, the Spanish manager may be tempted to give Archer a shot with the first team before deciding whether a marquee striker signing is worthwhile.

If Archer can carry his club form at Middlesbrough – where he has scored four goals in 11 outings – and take it onto the international stage, he can force Emery into a tricky decision.

It is clear that Archer possesses the quality to thrive in a claret and blue shirt, and his time with the England Under-21s is another audition that he can pass with flying colours.

In other Aston Villa news, Dan Bardell admits one Villa loanee has “no pathway” under Unai Emery, with a recent signing being the final blow.