Aston Villa coach Gordon Cowans sees bright future for teenage goalkeeper Matija Sarkic

Aston Villa

The 18-year-old summer signing from Anderlecht produced an impressive display for the Under-21s in Monday night's 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Aston Villa Under-21 manager Gordon Cowans has tipped goalkeeper Matija Sarkic for a bright future following the 18-year-old Montenegrin's display in Monday night’s 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Cowans was speaking to AVTV after seeing Jordan Lyden’s 45th-minute header hand his side all three points in their U21 Premier League Division Two clash at Villa Park, where Sarkic was making his second appearance for the team since his summer move from Anderlecht.

The highly-rated stopper, who signed a three-year deal in September, has already been called up to Montenegro’s Under-21 squad in recent months and was said to be a potential target for West Ham United before joining the claret and blues instead [h/t Sky Sports].

However, his Villa career got off to a forgettable start earlier this month when his debut for Cowans’ side at Swansea City saw the hosts romp to a 5-0 victory, as a shaky defence left the promising keeper with a lot to do during the 90 minutes.

Fortunately, he enjoyed a somewhat quieter outing on Monday night, needing to make just a few saves to preserve the clean sheet, but his coach was still left more than impressed with how he bounced back from the disappointment of the previous week’s thrashing.

“I thought he was excellent tonight,” said Cowans. “He didn’t have too much to do, but what he did have to do, I thought he did very well.

“It will build his confidence because conceding five goals is not nice for any goalkeeper.

“For a young lad of 18 to come out with a performance like that at Villa Park, it’s looking good for him.”

Sarkic obviously needs a lot more time before he is ready for first-team football, but unless an established stopper arrives in the winter to push both Brad Guzan and Mark Bunn down the pecking order, the future No. 1 role seems there for the taking if he can pass Jed Steer over the coming seasons.

The last teenage keeper Villa signed from abroad, Benjamin Siegrist, has failed to live up to expectations since his 2009 move from FC Basel, but Cowans' comments suggest that their latest find might have the chance to go on to better things.

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