Photo by Mateo Villalba Sanchez/Getty Images for DFB

Carney Chukwuemeka has the potential to become a first-team player at Aston Villa, academy manager Mark Harrison told the club’s official website.

It is an exciting time to be a Villa fan.

After so many years of near-constant underachievement, Dean Smith has his boyhood club flying high as one of only two clubs in Europe’s top five leagues with a 100 per cent record so far in 2020/21.

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While things are going rather well at present, the future looks even more thrilling.

Former West Brom talentspotter Harrison was hired by the Midland giants last year to oversee a dramatic transformation of Aston Villa’s Bodymoor Heath academy and, with Louie Barry, Sil Swinkels, Lamare Bogarde and more arriving over the last 12 months or so, some of the most exciting teenagers in Europe are honing their talents in claret and blue right now.

Chukwuemeka, a fixture of Villa’s U23 side despite being just 17, may be the most talented of the lot.

“We have been really pleased with his development over the last couple of years and feel this contract will provide him with the platform to continue to realise his potential and become a first-team player,” Harrison said of the teenage midfielder, who caught Smith’s eye while training with Villa’s senior squad in pre-season.

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“Carney and his family have shown great commitment to his development and they also appreciate that the hard work continues.

“We will all work together to help him fulfil his dream of playing in our first team.”

Harrison is not the only man at Villa Park who is tipping Chukwuemeka for big things.

CEO Christian Purslow told the Birmingham Mail earlier in 2020 that the England youth star was ‘probably the best 16-year-old in England’.

Interestingly, Villa have also been showing an interest in Chukwuemeka’s older brother, Northampton Town starlet Caleb (Mail).

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