Academy chief Jones backs new recruits to hit high standards
Bryan Jones hopes Villa's current academy stars can match the high standards set by some of their predecessors after the club welcomed 10 new scholars into the fold.
The new recruits officially began their academy scholarships this month and have been gearing up for the new season.
Villa's talent-spotters cast their net far and wide to assemble a talented group of first-year scholars.
As well as local lads Jack Grealish, Ricardo Calder and Courtney Wildin, who have been at the club for several years as schoolboys, a number of promising stars from further afield have joined the academy ranks.
Irish defenders Robin Dempsey and Kevin Toner have signed following impressive trials, while the club have handed scholarships to Australian duo Jordan Lyden and Thomas Strain and Slovakian midfielder Thomas Zazrivec.
Widemen Daniel O'Brien and Jerell Sellars have also been recruited from Everton and Lincoln City respectively.
Academy manager Jones reckons his staff have assembled and developed a talented group of first-years.
"Over the last 18 months this particular age group was not the strongest we've had over the last 10 years," he said.
"The recruitment staff Sean Kimberly and Phil Robinson along with the scouts have worked tremendously hard to develop an U17 squad for this year that mirrors the standard that is acceptable for a club of our stature."
Meanwhile, U16 midfielder Dan Crowley and U15 duo Rushain Hepburn-Murphy and Easah Suliman have signed full-time schoolboy terms.
It means the teenage starlets will be educated at the club both on the football field and in the classroom.
Striker Hepburn-Murphy and central defender Suliman have also been invited to join up with an England development squad at the St George's Park National Football Centre in August.
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