Today's Aston Villa Under-23s and Academy Talking Points
The Aston Villa Under-23, formerly Aston Villa Under-21 and Aston Villa Reserves, are the most senior youth development team of Aston Villa and compete in Premier League 2 (Division 2) of the Professional Development League and the Premier League International Cup in the 2016–17 season. The team were part of the FA Premier Reserve League since its foundation in 1999 and were winners of the 2011-12 Premier Reserve League South title, the last in that format. The team plays its home games at Villa Park and Bescot Stadium (home of Walsall F.C.). Aston Villa also have an academy side that competes in the Under-18 division of the Professional Development League and the FA Youth Cup annually.
The side has been successful in recent years, as well as becoming national champions in the 2003–04 and 2009–10 seasons, the team also clinched four out of five Southern Championships between 2007 and 2012, before the format changed to the Professional Development League. The side also won the NextGen Series in 2013, a Europe-wide tournament for elite academies.
Current first-teamers Gabriel Agbonlahor, Nathan Baker, Gary Gardner, André Green and Jack Grealish all came through the youth system at the club, as well as former players Ciaran Clark, Gary Cahill, Gareth Barry, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Darius Vassell, Craig Gardner, Marc Albrighton, Andreas Weimann and Steven Davis amongst many others. The Villa academy also developed England and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and Arsenal midfielder Daniel Crowley. The U23 team is primarily made up of players under the age of 23, although three over-age outfield players and an over-age goalkeeper may be named in a matchday squad. These may include fringe first-team players and first-team players recovering from injury.Close