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Academy chief Jones hopes to see young guns step up progress
Bryan Jones striving to push academy starlets on to next level.
14th Aug 2013
Academy chief Jones hopes to see young guns step up progress


Harrison

Bryan Jones says even greater emphasis will be placed on development over results in Villa's academy this term as the future generation look to kick on to the next level.

Academy chief Jones and his staff hope to push the club's up and coming stars through the ranks quicker by fielding younger sides in U18 and U21 competitions this term.

The policy has been backed by manager Paul Lambert, who wants the academy to play an important part in his Villa vision.

"The policy this year for youth team and U21 selection will be to play very young sides in both competitions to really stretch the players and aid their development," said Jones.

"We don't want to push the players too quickly but with our experience we think we will be able to manage it properly.

"The aim is not to win these competitions, the aim is to develop young players and continue that successful pathway into our first team.

"The manager has already informed us that he wants to develop young players as quickly as possible and the academy has an even more vital role in achieving this target."

The U18s kick off their league campaign against Newcastle at Bodymoor Heath on Saturday with eight first-year scholars hoping to make their mark.

Former Bolton Wanderers schoolboy Dylan Forth and local lad Charlie Bannister will be vying for the goalkeeper's jersey, while ex-Spurs central defender Kodi Lyons-Foster and Oxford-born forward Harry Lewis have stepped up from Mark Delaney's U16 squad.

Central midfielders Harry McKirdy and Ryan Strain, who have both been at the club since the age of 14, hope to continue their progression through the ranks along with right-sided player Rory Hale who was recruited from Cliftonville in Northern Ireland.

Swedish midfielder Khalid Abdo - a star of last season's NextGen Series semi-final win over Sporting Lisbon - also officially begins his scholarship.

Meanwhile, several of Villa's youngsters have received international recognition this month.

Defender Easah Suliman captained England U16 at the Nordic Tournament in Norway, while forward Corey Taylor also featured.

Rushain Hepburn-Murphy and Andre Green have been selected for an England schoolboys training camp at St George's Park and 16-year-old midfielder Hale has earned a call-up to Northern Ireland's U19 squad to face Scotland.

Snap up Villa 'Acorns 25' junior shirts as worn by the club's youth teams.

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