Remi Garde discusses Aston Villa youngster Keinan Davis' inclusion in the squad against Norwich

Rémi Garde

The 17-year-old attacker was involved with the senior setup for the first time on Saturday as an unused substitute.

The Aston Villa bench for Saturday’s 2-0 home victory over Norwich City featured a surprise name from the youth ranks, as teenage forward Keinan Davis received his first call-up to the senior setup.

The 17-year-old attacker signed from non-league club Biggleswade Town in early December on an 18-month professional contract following a successful trial and has since made two appearances for the Gordon Cowans’ Under-21 side, while also netting a brace in the Under-18s’ recent 3-2 win over Arsenal.

Manager Remi Garde had been expected to call-up a rookie striker for the Norwich match after seeing injures and suspension leave Gabby Agbonlahor as his only available out-and-out front man, but most expected Jerell Sellars to get the nod.

However, it was Davis who made the matchday 18 instead after catching the eye in training, marking a remarkable rise from playing in the Evostik Southern Premier League Division only a few months earlier.

He is just the latest Villa youngster to get a first-team opportunity under Garde after Jordan Lyden was recently promoted to the senior squad and Niall Mason was an unused substitute for Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss at West Ham United, and the ex-Lyon boss stressed following Saturday’s win that he could well hand more claret and blue prospects a chance to impress over the rest of the season.

Speaking to the club’s official website about Davis’ inclusion, Garde said: “Keinan is a striker. Obviously I need to see more of him to speak more about him.

“It's a sign for this academy that we will need some players going through. There is a lot of work to do with this kind of player.

“They need to have many training sessions with me and the first team to have the opportunity to me.

“Probably because of Aston Villa's situation it means there is a big opportunity for these types of players. It was Keinan today and if they work well the others could have an opportunity.

“You know how much I like to work with young players. I will be very careful with all these guys.”

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