Aston Villa must hang on to Andre Green - they need their youth now more than ever

The 17-year-winger is reportedly attracting interest from top Premier League clubs.

There are huge changes afoot at Aston Villa, and it is not going be an easy ride. All but relegated, confidence at zero, looking for what will be a fourth manager in the last year-and-a-half, increasing fan unrest - never has the motto 'proud history, bright future' sounded more like a false promise.

Whilst off-pitch changes to the boardroom have been underway for months, there is likely to be a complete overhaul of the squad on the horizon this summer once the curtain has finally fallen on a most catastrophic of seasons for a once-great club.

That is likely to see the departures of numerous high-earning senior stars, with club captain Gabby Agbonlahor and defenders Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott three of the players most touted to depart.

Though players with Championship experience and with the nous to negotiate such a notoriously difficult league will be essential recruits this summer, Villa fans will also be hoping that their promising crop of youngsters will be given the chance to shine.

For there is promise there, amongst the rubble of this season's destruction. Jack Grealish, though turned into something of an outcast under Remi Garde, clearly has bags of talent and is just the leading name from the ranks of the club's academy.

Another, who has only emerged in the first-team picture this season after being named on the bench for the final match of the previous campaign, is Andre Green, an exciting, pacey 17-year-old winger tipped by many at the club to be one of the finer graduates at the club in recent years.

Green made his Premier League debut under Garde as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur last month and was given another cameo the following week against Swansea City, and he showed signs of boasting the kind of potential to finally give the club's disillusioned fans a reason to feel excited again.

The report on Wednesday, then, which claims that Green is in danger of being poached by a host of top Premier League clubs including Spurs, will have been a biting dose of reality that even that light at the end of the tunnel may be snatched away.

Sure, Villa have let promising young talent leave early in their careers before. Hotly-tipped midfielder Daniel Johnson was sold to Preston for just £50,000, where he has become indispensable. Eric Lichaj played 42 times before being allowed to move to Forest at the age of 24, where he has made 111 appearances in just three years. Harry Forrester didn't play a single minute, but has since starred in the Football League and, currently, for Rangers.

Even after they began to flourish at their new clubs, few fans bemoaned the decision to ship out those players, but the truth of the matter is that the situation is far different now - Villa's squad is likely to be laid bare in this summer, and whatever is left will have to deal with a tremendous culture shock as they adapt to life in the Championship.

The club will need a blend of youth and experience next season, and each will be as important as the other as the club face up to the hectic, gruelling schedule of the Championship and entering cup competitions at earlier rounds.

Green, Grealish, and others such as Green's fellow debutant this season Jordan Lyden, and perhaps even the forgotten Callum Robinson, who has both League One and Championship experience under his belt thanks to loan spells, should all have some role to play.

If Villa want their 'bright future' prophecy to be fulfilled to any degree next season, they must stand firm this summer and ensure that Green and other burgeoning talent are still at Villa Park come September.

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