By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

27th Apr, 2023 | 8:10pm

Sky Sports journalist tips Cameron Archer to stay at Aston Villa if club qualify for European football

We’re delighted to welcome Sky Sports and The Athletic’s Dan Bardell as our exclusive Aston Villa columnist each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the club…

Dan Bardell believes academy graduate Cameron Archer will remain with the Aston Villa first-team next season if the club qualify for European football.

Archer, 21, has been scoring goals for fun on loan at Middlesbrough in the second half of this season, taking his tally to ten goals and six assists from 18 games when netting against Luton Town earlier this week (24 April).

This comes after a frustrating spell in the West Midlands under previous manager Steven Gerrard, who was reluctant to use the England Under-21 international and instead sided with frontmen Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings.

The beginning of the 2022/23 season saw the striker only come off the bench on six occasions and amass a total of 42 minutes in the Premier League.

However, with the club now potentially sitting on the cusp of European football under Emery, Sky Sports and The Athletic’s Bardell admitted that Archer could be utilised in either the Europa League or the Europa Conference League, and he has the quality to succeed at this level.

“Yes, I absolutely think so,” he told Villa News when asked if Archer had a role to play next season.

“I think Archer has exceeded expectations again on loan at Middlesbrough and might well be part of firing them into the Premier League.

“He’s getting goals and assists a little bit as Watkins did in the Championship, his goal involvements are through the roof, and it has meant Villa actually have one of the hottest strikers in the Premier League and one of the hottest strikers in the Championship.

“I think if Aston Villa qualify for Europe, I think he stays, and I think he will play a lot in the cup competitions.

“He has ticked every box that he could have ticked over the last few years, by the fact he has scored goals at every level he has played at.

“I think you can now say he is a Premier League striker, but it is whether Emery thinks he is a Premier League starter in a club that wants to be top-six.

“He may not necessarily start every game, but he certainly has the talent to score goals in group games in the Europa League and the Europa Conference League if Watkins were to be rested.”

Emery recently spoke out on the “very good” loan spell of Archer, insisting that the experience of playing three matches a week was imperative in his development as a player. [Birmingham Mail, 21 April]

The Spaniard also mentioned the success of fellow Championship loanees Aaron Ramsey and Tim Iroegbunam and revealed that a decision would be made on their futures over the coming months.

With five games of the season remaining, it remains to be seen whether Aston Villa will qualify for European football, but if they do, they have a brilliant alternative option to lead the line in Archer.

In other Aston Villa news, Danny Mills was completely wrong about a “terrible” Villa player after his recent transformation under Emery.