Aston Villa let Niall Mason leave for Doncaster Rovers – but now he’s wanted by Championship trio Sunderland, Birmingham and Hull City.

Niall Mason was so impressive as Doncaster Rovers won promotion from League Two last season that Darren Ferguson did not wait around to make his loan deal from Aston Villa permanent.

In fact, the talented centre-back signed a two-year deal at the Keepmoat in the second week of May – almost as soon as the 2016/17 season ended. And Mason has proved to be a fine investment so far, making the step up from League Two to League One look easy where some of his team-mates have struggled.

Now, according to The Sun, Mason could be on the move again. Championship trio Sunderland, Birmingham City and Hull are all battling it out to sign the 21-year-old, who spent a short spell in Real Madrid’s academy as a youngster.

Sunderland look very likely to be relegated again this season and, according to The Sun, have identified a pool of proven League One talents in order to slash the wage bill and rebuild a crumbling squad.

But perhaps now is the time for Aston Villa to admit a potential mistake before it really starts to bite them on the backside. The Bromley-born centre-back signed his first professional contract with Villa in 2015 and was a regular for the U21s but never made his senior breakthrough at the club and departed two years later.

Mason, however, is now emerging as one of the Football League’s most promising defensive talents and, with Christopher Samba out of contract and Tommy Elphick out of favour, there may be a role for him now in a side managed by Steve Bruce, who is willing to give chances to young players.

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