COMMENT By Amir Mir
Andre Green became the fourth youngest player to represent Aston Villa when he made his debut in March against Tottenham.
However, the highly-rated forward put pen-to-paper on Saturday evening on a new three-year contract which delighted Roberto Di Matteo, who is a big fan of the youngster.
After spiritless performances last season, the Villa supporters are in need of a huge lift and one way to do that is to give young and hungry academy players the chance to shine on the big stage.
Green, who can operate out wide and as a centre-forward, deserves that opportunity after his remarkable rise over the last year from joining the under-21’s in January 2014 to making his senior debut as a second-half substitute in March 2016.
There are a number of senior figures within the Championship squad who Green deserves to be ahead of in the pecking order.
One of those players is Gabby Agbonlahor, who has produced lacklustre and lazy performances over the past five years and therefore should not thwart the progression of an emerging star like Green.
Despite Green making only three second-half substitute appearances for Villa, most supporters would agree that his raw talent is enough to ensure be picked ahead of the club’s ex-captain.
Green has the ability to become a Villa superstar. Possessing touch, technique and mobility, the skill-set is a considerable one.
Agbonlahor scored a single goal last term and gave up the club captaincy after being put on a fitness regime at the back-end of last season.
The 29-year-old, just like Green, make his debut as a teenager for the club scoring on his debut in a 4-1 defeat against Everton.
But after 333 appearances in all competitions and 84 goals, the boyhood Villa fan’s career has taken a huge downward fall, despite a promising start which saw him earn three England caps.
Many Villa supporters will want manager Roberto Di Matteo to pick Green, 18, ahead of Agbonlahor for the Championship season.
The England under-17 international may only make sporadic appearances for the club this season, but there is no doubt his silky skills and raw pace should earn more game time than the much-criticised Agbonlahor.
The Championship will be a huge test and learning curve for the youngster who has been at the club since aged nine.
In other Aston Villa team news, Paul McGrath names the player who impressed him during the defeat against Sheffield Wednesday.