Aston Villa have put their faith in youth for their pre-season tour of the United States as forward Cameron Archer is joined in the travelling squad by 17-year-old midfielder Omari Kellyman, report the Express and Star.
The young midfielder joined Aston Villa from Derby County in 2022 having impressed with the Rams before Villa were able to profit from Derby’s poor financial situation and see him sign his first professional contract with Emery’s side.
Typically deployed as an attacking midfielder, Kellyman impressed in the Premier League 2 last season, playing ten times and chipping in with three goals and two assists, an impressive record especially when considering at 17 he is one of the younger players at that standard.
Villa’s pre-season trip over the Atlantic isn’t the first time that the former Derby County man has been close to the first-team squad however, with Emery utilising the midfielder in a behind-closed-doors game against Bristol Rovers back in March.
In a side that included the likes of Diego Carlos and Leander Dendoncker, it was Kellyman who scored Villa’s only goal in the match as he made a cameo from the bench, ensuring that if he hadn’t already caught the eye of the man in charge at Villa Park, he certainly had now.
Now midfield is an area where Aston Villa already have plenty of quality, on top of this summer’s addition of Youri Tielemens the likes of Aaron Ramsey, John McGinn, Emi Buendia and Phillipe Coutinho will all be ahead of Kellyman in the pecking order, despite rumours still circulating about the Brazilian’s future at the Villa Park.
Where Villa have been clever in recent years is their utilisation of the loan market to develop young players, for example, the Archer, as mentioned above, has been given the opportunity to leave the second city temporarily and hone his craft at both Preston North End and Middlesbrough.
While the Championship may be a bit too much for the 17-year-old’s first loan move, a good display in America where Emery’s side face fellow Premier League sides Fulham, Newcastle United and Brentford would likely catch the eye of clubs up and down the EFL.
Alternatively, the Spanish manager has had no issue keeping players in and around the first-team squad if he believes that is the better option for their development, the most obvious example of this being Jacob Ramsey who has remained at Villa Park after his loan to Doncaster in 2020.
Whichever route the higher-ups at Aston Villa decide is best for the Kellyman, it is clear they rate him incredibly highly just by the decision to bring him stateside with the first-team squad and it is likely he’ll be a name we hear plenty about in the coming years.
In other Aston Villa news, young keeper Viljami Sinisalo has the opportunity to stake his claim as Exeter City confirm loan deal