By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

29th May, 2023 | 5:10pm

Aston Villa to 'rip up' plans for academy duo after Europa Conference League qualification - Sky Sports journalist

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…

Aston Villa might have to rip up their prior plans for academy duo Tim Iroegbunam and Aaron Ramsey after the club qualified for the Europa Conference League, according to Dan Bardell.

Unai Emery’s side clinched the final European spot the Premier League has to offer on the final day of the season with a well-deserved 2-1 win over Brighton at Villa Park (28 May).

Both Iroegbunam, who was on loan at QPR this season, and Middlesbrough loanee Aaron Ramsey have enjoyed successful spells out in the Championship and now await the decision on whether they will play a part in first-team proceedings next season.

The academy duo were expected to feature for the England Under-20s in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Argentina, but the youngsters both picked up ill-timed injuries, meaning they missed out on representing their country.

Speaking to Villa News, Bardell admitted that Aston Villa will now need further squad depth, considering they will be fighting in both domestic and European competitions, and this could subsequently help the Championship loanees.

“Europe may mean Villa have to rip up their plans for Iroegbunam and Ramsey,” he said.

“The extra games, I think it is 12 subs in the Europa Conference League as well means Villa will need much more squad depth. Emery has struggled to get nine subs at times this season, even with two goalkeepers included.

“He hasn’t had the chance to work with either Iroegbunam or Ramsey like he has with Cameron Archer, so they will come back in pre-season, get whatever treatment they need and as soon as they are fit again, he will take a look at them, weigh them up for a few weeks.

“If they end up staying, Emery will have a certain plan for them, if they go back out on loan, it is because he doesn’t think they are quite ready yet.

“Emery is planning everything long-term at Aston Villa, so if he has a player who he thinks has got something about him, he will have a plan mapped out which will be in the best interests of the player and for the club.”

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