New Aston Villa prospect Callum Stretch explains how Tottenham trial led to B6 move

General view before the game - Villa Park

The 16-year-old US youth international defender joined the Championship new boys on a two-year deal last month.

General view before the game - Villa Park

Speaking to TopDrawerSoccer, Aston Villa’s new US Under-18 international defender Callum Stretch has revealed that his move to the Midlands came about after a trial with Tottenham Hotspur.

Stretch, who hails from Southern California, first travelled to England at the age of 14 to trial with Tottenham’s Under-15s and was invited back for a second spell after a successful week-long stint.

However, before returning to north London, several members of the club’s coaching staff left for Villa and subsequently invited the former LA Galaxy academy product to try out for the claret and blues instead.

He later spent six weeks training at the Championship side, while also getting the chance to play for the Under-16s, before eventually putting pen to paper on a two-year deal last month.

General view

The 16-year-old centre-back has since been showing his promise by training with the Under-21 squad over recent weeks and is now eager to begin his first season in English football.

Explaining how he ended up at Villa, Stretch told TopDrawerSoccer: “When I first went over to the UK I played with Tottenham Hotspurs U15 team. There I had a week trial and played against Ipswich. I felt that I did well and the coaching staff seemed to agree by inviting me back.

“When I returned back to LA to figure out what would be the best plan moving forward, it was during that period that some of the coaching staff had left Spurs and moved on to Villa. That's why when I was ready to return back to England, I was asked to go there for trials.

“The whole experience was very positive and the group of coaches and players made me feel very welcome. I did 6 weeks of trials playing for the U16’s in games against Nottingham Forest, Chelsea and Reading by where I was then called up for the US U18’s to play in Sweden. It was when I returned back to Villa they offered me the contract.”

Stretch, whose father is British, can also line-up at full-back and holding midfield in addition to centre-half and has received several call-ups to the US Under-18 squad since last August.

The 6ft 3in youngster is set to begin the coming campaign playing for Villa’s Under-18s but, if he makes enough of an impression over the next few months, we could see him get some game time for the Under-21 side in the not too distant future.

Certainly, given his obvious potential, he'll be one for manager Roberto Di Matteo to keep a close eye on going forward.

Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo

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