Aston Villa have truly had a season to forget so far and while the club was given some respite with the epic win over QPR this weekend past it has still been grim viewing for the fans at Villa Park.
In some ways it is not entirely the clubs fault. Teams around them have got a lot better. The likes of West Brom, Swansea City and even promoted sides like West Ham and perhaps Southampton have performed better than many would have expected.
Villa are also trying to do things in the right way. Their investment in the clubs youth team is admirable and whereas this system 20 years ago would have seen Villa challenging at one end of the table the influence the transfer market now has on the Premier League standings is so that Villa are currently languishing where they are.
That is not to say Villa have not been busy in the market themselves; but with an influence on youth clearly prevalent.
The likes of Christian Benteke, Ashley Westwood and Matthew Lowton have all come in alongside graduates such as Andreas Weimann, Ciaran Clark and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
The motto of Aston Villa is ‘Prepared’ and as ominously succinct that dictum may be it appears also very apt for the club in light of recent events.
While they are struggling in the present it would certainly appear that they are also prepared for the future. Not only do they have a low average age in their first team but they are also blessed by an astonishingly talented youth team that is causing a stir on a continental scale.
Aston Villa’s NextGen side have made it into the semi-final of the 2012-13 NextGen Series and will travel to Lake Como, Italy, for the finals later this month.
The likes of Mikey Drennan, Samir Carruthers, Jack Grealish, Janoi Donacien and Graham Burke are just a few of the names you should remember from this talented group who look ready to conquer Europe’s youth stage.
While many are tipping Chelsea or the impressive Sporting Lisbon outfit to go all the way they forget the fact Villa have already beaten Sporting in the this seasons edition; winning 5-1 in Lisbon.
It would be of course odd if Villa were relegated but also possessed the most celebrated youth team in Europe (and was also put paid to the UEFA idea of a senior league based version of NextGen) but it also supports the motto.
If Aston Villa are anything it is ‘prepared’ for the future with this talented bunch on their side.
What have you made of Aston Villa’s impressive NextGen Series campaign?
image: © Ben Sutherland