Aston Villa U23’s have advanced to the Premier League Trophy semi-finals after knocking out Middlesborough U23’s in an exciting 2-1 extra time fashion. They have been drawn to play Leicester City U23’s and it will no doubt be a big game for the youngsters involved with Villa. But, how much does the average Villa fan know about the U23 set-up, or maybe some of the players? Outside of Callum O’Hare or James Bree, you don’t hear very much about other youth prospects.
Cox has a certain something about him for a 19 year old midfielder. Earlier in the season when Jonathan Kodjia was testing his ankle in a U23 match against Southampton, Cox completely stole the show by finding the back of the net twice. While Aston Villa supporters love a midfielder that can pop up with a goal now and then, Cox has shown some pretty abrasive speed in the middle of the park. Cox has been a Villa player for eight years now, and was a mainstay for Villa U18’s for quite some time. While Cox has only netted on three occasions this season in Premier League 2, his development and dedication seems to be right on track.
If there was a centre-back in the Villa youth system to keep an eye on, Jacob Bedeau is who you’re looking for. Bedeau already has seven senior team appearances while he was coming up in the ranks at Bury at only 16 years old. The young English defender was brought to Villa for a fee reportedly around 1 million pounds. As Bedeau started to get familiar with his surroundings, it started to show on the pitch. The 18 year old looks beyond his years in terms of concentration and timely tackles. Composure has been a bit of an issue for Bedeau, racking up 4 yellow cards in Premier League 2. The next step for Bedeau may very well be breaking into the Aston Villa starting eleven if he continues his rapid progression. No other Aston Villa U23 player has spent more time overall on the pitch this season than Bedeau.
The 19 year old Irish midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes has already made his first steps as a full-time Aston Villa player this last season. He made his debut against Wigan Athletic in the League Cup back in September, and was a mainstay in Aston Villa’s pre-season tournament in Germany before that. Doyle-Hayes has been opening eyes in the Villa youth set-up for some time, and Villa senior and academy coaches have been mightily impressed. The midfield youngster is touted for his professionalism to training and his vision. In the Premier League 2 this season, he has produced two goals and three assists. Doyle-Hayes has also signed a new contract with Villa in September of this season, as the youngster looks to solidify being involved with the first-team plans for the future.
Knibbs is the kind of forward you’d want in your team, regardless of the level. The calmness the 18 year old Villa youngster is what will drive him forward in his
progression of development. With three goals and assist in Premier League 2, the promise of the future looks bright. Knibbs has had some injury woes in the past, but that has not seemed to deter his positive attitude moving forward.
Best of luck to the Villa u23’s and their semi-final draw against Leicester City. The road to success seems to be paved well not only for the players mentioned, but for a lot of others at Aston Villa as well. A few of these names might even become household commodities in Aston Villa circles sooner rather than later. Aston Villa are known for their prime development of young talent and there does not seem to be an end in sight any time soon.