Louie Barry and co. proved against Liverpool how financially valuable a well-run youth academy can be to a team like Aston Villa.
That is according to football finance guru and new Football Insider correspondent Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to correspondent Adam Williams after Dean Smith was forced to field a youth side in the FA Cup after a Covid-19 outbreak at Bodymoor Heath.
The starting XI in the 4-1 loss had an average age of 18 years and 294 days, as well as two 16-year-olds in Lamare Bogarde and Ben Chrisene.
Villa have had one of the most prolific youth academies in recent years, with the likes of Jack Grealish, Kienan Davis, Jacob Ramsey, Indiana Vassilev all involved in first-team football this season.
Maguire believes a strong youth academy is essential to the financial health of any well-run football club.
He told Football Insider: “It’s absolutely critical because every player that breaks through is a potential sale, and even the players that don’t but go out on loan where the club’s receiving loan fees
“If the player proves to be successful then there’s a chance that someone else has been watching him play in the Championship for the last 12 months.
“We see it particularly with the big clubs. Players like Sam Johnstone who went from United to West Brom for £5million having played only one or two games for Manchester United.
“For Aston Villa, having that academy route, A) from the fans perspective, it increases the emotional connection with the club because they feel the club is committed to the local area and B) financially, it is absolutely essential that you have some sort of development route for players to come through because it’s saving you money in the transfer market.”
Friday’s defeat was not the only cup tie between Villa and Liverpool in recent years to have been centred on young players.
In December 2019, the youngest side in Reds history was beaten 5-0 by Aston Villa in the League Cup.