With England’s dreary World Cup campaign already forcing fans to look to the next crop of emerging talent, one of those youngsters who could be contributing to the side in the coming years has just committed his future to his club.
After making his first-team debut for Aston Villa last season, highly-rated prospect Callum Robinson has signed a new two-year deal at Villa Park, along with midfielder Gary Gardner, and appears set to be given the chance to further integrate himself into the squad this coming campaign.
Robinson may have just 50 minutes of Premier League experience, with four substitute appearances towards the end of 2013-14, but there is good reason to be excited about the 19-year-old’s ambitions for both club and country.
The latest starlet to emerge from Villa’s much-lauded academy, the rookie striker proved an integral part of the successful NextGen series side in 2012-13, while going on to score 11 goals in 17 U21 Premier League games over the past season.
Having featured for England from U16 through to U19 level, Robinson’s success with the reserves, as well as the team’s injury problems, ultimately saw Paul Lambert opt to slowly introduce the teenager into the squad in the final months of the campaign, with the manger having nothing but positives words to say about the frontman.
‘Callum has done great for the reserves,’ he said back in March. ‘He’s got great enthusiasm for the game. I think he’s deserved a chance to go on the bench with the way he’s performed.
‘He’s still got a long, long way to go but I think highly enough of him to let him experience what it’s like and what to expect.
‘He’s got enthusiasm. I think he’s a natural finisher, and he’s got great movement as well,’ he added.
‘He’s definitely one for the future, him.’
While it’s certainly far too early to be labeling Robinson a surefire future England fixture, Villa’s current financial situation, combined with Lambert’s willingness to give youth a chance, means the academy graduate will likely be given every opportunity to break into the side next season, having already earned comparisons to club stalwart Gabby Agbonlahor.
After being similarly lauded as a youngster, Agbonlahor hasn’t quite risen to the heights many expected him to reach in his early years but the hype around Robinson suggests he could be one to not only make a big impression with Villa but also with the Three Lions in years to come.