Aston Villa youngster Callum Robinson outlines first-team ambitions after goalscoring display

The 20-year-old striker bagged his first senior goal for Villa in Saturday's 1-1 friendly draw at Walsall.

Aston Villa striker Callum Robinson is hoping that his first senior goal for the club proves a sign of things to come this season.

Robinson, 20, was speaking to AVTV after scoring a 22nd-minute opener in Villa’s 1-1 friendly draw at Walsall on Saturday, having started the match in place of the injured Gabby Agbonlahor.

While the former trainee had flattered to deceive in the club’s first three pre-season fixtures, he looked like their most dangerous attacking outlet at the Bescot Stadium, giving the opposition defence all kinds of problems with his pace and off-the-ball movement, while also creating a number of opportunities for striker-partner Libor Kozak.

Considered one of Villa’s top prospects, the England Under-20 international earned a handful of Premier League cameos towards the end of the 2013-14 season but spent most of last term on loan at Preston North End, where he racked up 28 appearances and seven goals from the left wing to help the club seal promotion to the Championship.

Now bidding to break into Tim Sherwood’s plans for the new campaign, he is aiming to follow a similar path to teammate and close friend Jack Grealish, who also spent time in League One at Notts County before his own first-team emergence.

“Obviously I was really happy to get my goal today – my first one for Villa,” he told AVTV after the match. “Even though it’s pre-season, a goal’s a goal and I’ve got off the mark now for the season.

“For any striker or attacking player a goal can help. That’s what I wanted - to try and get goals and assists in pre-season to try and get myself into this first team properly. Obviously, I’ve been on the fringe of it, but I want to be around here, so hopefully that can help me.

“Jack broke through after a season in League One and I was there last season. Hopefully now if I perform in pre-season training, keep working on my finishing and do what I do best then the gaffer will give me a chance.”

Robinson, who made his Villa debut in September 2013, was recalled from his Preston loan last November after Darren Bent’s switch to Brighton, but he failed to see a single minute of action over the next two months before heading back to Deepdale for the rest of the season.

However, with Sherwood now desperate for attacking help after Christian Benteke’s move to Liverpool, both he and the fit-again Kozak could be set for much bigger roles in their manager’s plans than anticipated.

Robinson himself would be delighted to see his fellow forward get a chance to impress after 19 months out of senior action following a horrific leg-break, having struck up a great rapport with him in pre-season.

“It’s good, he brings something different to me,” Robinson said of Kozak, who set up his goal against Walsall with a left wing cross.

“He’s a lot bigger but he still does run in behind. It’s been good playing with him. I’ve played with him a few times in pre-season now and hopefully he gets much more game time this season as well.”

Nevertheless, with highly-rated Lorient striker Jordan Ayew reported to be edging towards a £9 million switch to Villa Park, the pair could well be facing some more competition in their fight for minutes.

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