COMMENT by Amir Mir

Steve Bruce’s hopes of a promotion push this season with Aston Villa is stalling and the lack of quality within the squad is a big factor behind that.

The promotion expert has done extremely well since taking over the reigns at Villa Park in mid-October, winning five out of his ten Championship games in charge.

However, players such as Gabby Agbonlahor are stalling his chances of success – Bruce would be better off selecting 18-year-old striker Rushian Hepburn-Murphy.

At the age of 30, Agbonlahor is the club’s longest serving player and it is high time those at the club got rid of the experienced player and replaced him with a younger lion.

Academy graduate Hepburn-Murphy has drawn high praise during his rise through the ranks at Villa Park and it is now time he is given the chance to showcase what he has to offer.

He made his senior debut for the club at the age of 16 years and 176 days against Sunderland in March 2015.

As a result the academy graduate became the club’s second youngster ever player when he replaced then Villa striker Christian Benteke.

Regardless of what happens to Villa this season, Bruce must look to the future and bright young stars such as Hepburn-Murphy need to be given a chance.

He has appeared on only one occasion for the Championship side this season, when former claret and blue boss Roberto Di Matteo brought him on as a late substitute against Newcastle.

But when players such as Agbonlahor have nothing left in their tank, their limited ability is dwindling and youngsters want to shine, then only one decision should be made – select the youngsters.

In other Aston Villa news, former striker Stan Collymore aims a dig at the next possible Birmingham City manager.