By Amir Mir
Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo insists he is not afraid to give youth the chance as he prepares for a gruelling Championship campaign.
The Italian is hoping to guide the Midlands club to instant promotion following relegation last term, but will not hide away from giving the youngsters a chance.
“I’m not shy of giving a young player a chance if he deserves it,” Di Matteo told BBC Radio WM.
“In my past I’ve always worked with young players and we certainly have some talented youngsters at the club.”
Jack Grealish is a player the 48-year-old will be relying upon with the likes of winger Andre Green, 17, defender Kevin Toner, 19 and midfielder Jordan Lyden, 20 all looking to make an impression after their debuts last term.
The former Champions league winning manager has made three signings this summer.
Defender Tommy Elphick signed from Bournemouth for a fee of £3 million and youngsters Aaron Tshibola and goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini joined on long-term contracts.
But as the new season draws closer, the former Chelsea boss is well aware that he will be judged on results.
“It’s a results-driven business and the results need to be there but I’m not afraid of that,” said Di Matteo “We’ll be looking to progress our young players and helping them develop.”
Di Matteo guided Chelsea to a Champions League trophy in 2012 when the Blues grinded out results against the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The Championship club are preparing to play their first game outside the top tier of English football since 1987 when they take on Sheffield Wednesday on August 7.
But, the former Italian playmaker insists the players have to believe in themselves as he gave an insight into the style they will play.
“Absolutely – we’re looking to play our football on the ground and pass the ball,” said Di Matteo.
“In any division you can do it – it’s a matter of believing in what you do and do it in the best way.”