It’s fair to say Carney Chukwuemeka is hardly a household name – but that could change before you know it.
A talented young midfielder, Chukwuemeka’s qualities have been kept under wraps so far but, inside Bodymoor Heath, there is real excitement about a little-known teen with the world at his feet.
He has recently been promoted to Mark Delaney’s U23 squad, meaning Chukwuemeka is now testing himself against players up to seven years older - and he has taken to the challenge with typical exuberance.
“We have one right now, probably the best 16-year-old in England; Carney. Absolutely no debate,” Purslow said in quotes reported by the Birmingham Mail.
“He’s starting for the U23s That’s what you want with your 16-year-olds. Not people who are not quite breaking into the first team, but staying around on contracts because it isn’t quite happening.”
With Aston Villa in the midst of a relegation battle, and having bowed out of the FA Cup already, Chukwuemeka is unlikely to be handed a first-team debut by Dean Smith any time soon.
But a coach who gave the likes of Chris Mepham, Rico Henry and Ollie Watkins their big breaks, while transforming Jack Grealish from problem child into arguably the Premier League’s most influential footballer, could be the ideal mentor for a player of Chukwuemeka’s precocious talents.
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