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Ajax U19 v Villa U19: Burke "inspired" by big European clash

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Ajax U19 v Villa U19: Burke "inspired" by big European clash


Graham Burke is relishing tonight's NextGen Series clash at Ajax - after being inspired by last season's trip to the Dutch side's illustrious home.

Villa return to Ajax's famous De Toekomst training headquarters tonight for a mouth-watering last 16 encounter.

It is the same venue as Villa's first-ever NextGen encounter when they were beaten 2-0 in Amsterdam in August 2011.

Although Burke was disappointed with the performance on that occasion, he has fond memories of his first taste of European club football.

The 19-year-old took great inspiration from playing at an academy that has produced some of football's all-time greats including Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard.

"Going to Ajax and walking in to their academy and seeing all the big names that came through there was unbelievable," said Burke.

"Walking in and seeing Johan Cruyff - he is one of the best players ever to play the game. It was inspirational.

"We weren't happy with the result in Amsterdam but I thought we played really well over there.

"We didn't deserve to lose and we had some good chances that we should have taken and their keeper pulled off some really good saves."

Villa booked their place in the knockout stages by finishing second in their group behind Sporting Lisbon.

The boys in claret and blue have already recorded wins over PSV Eindhoven, Celtic and Sporting in this season's competition.

Tonight's game kicks off at 7pm local time [6pm BST].

VILLA SQUAD: Calum Barrett, Bradley Watkins, Derrick Williams, Joshua Webb, Liam Bateman, Lewis Kinsella, Kevin Toner, Bradley Lewis, Jordan Lyden, Josh Barton, Samir Carruthers, Riccardo Calder, Daniel Crowley, Jack Grealish, Kahalid Abdo, Alfie Crooks, Michael Drennan, Graham Burke.

By @AVFCOfficial 19th February 2013
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