Gabby Agbonlahor has named teenage duo Louie Barry and Kahrel Reddin as two future Aston Villa stars.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Villa star who spent his entire career at the club after graduating from their academy is aware of the potential of the youngsters.
But he warned forward pair Barry, and Reddin, both 17, they should not spend too long playing Under-18s and Under-23s football.
Agbonlahor is convinced the best way for the cream of young talent to develop is to learn their trade in the lower leagues against senior pros.
He pointed out how he followed that path, as did club captain Jack Grealish, who is the poster boy of the Villa set-up.
“But I think they need to play more games in the under-18s, under-23s, get their experience before they come into the first team because the squad that Aston Villa have got, it’s going to be really tough for them to break through.
“Sometimes loans can help. We’ve seen Jack [Grealish] go on loan when he was 17,18 to Notts County, I went on loan when I was 18 to Sheffield Wednesday.
“Sometimes, get yourself out on loan and go and play with the men.
“Under-23s football’s good but there’s nothing better than playing real football and real
competitive football and that’s what these players need to do.”