Gabriel Agbonlahor has tipped Aston Villa manager Dean Smith to call on some of his exciting young players during the busy festive period. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer delivered his verdict after it was revealed the club will not let the majority of their Under-23 squad leave on loan in January.

The Athletic‘s David Ornstein reported on Monday that the Midlands giants will fend off interest from EFL clubs for in-form attackers Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Louie Barry.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith

The club want the youngsters to remain at Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training base and Agbonlahor expects the pair to train with the first-team.

He told Football Insider: “Every club is different, sometimes they want these players to go out on loan.

“These players are still very young, they’ve got time to go out on loan if necessary.

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“Maybe Aston Villa want them to keep progressing the way they are in the youth set up and the Under-23s. The Under-23s league is very competitive and they can get a lot out of playing every week for them.

“Maybe it’s something they might look at bringing them into the first-team to train.

“It always used to happen where a couple of youngsters will come and train with the first-team.

“There’s going to be injuries and suspensions over the next month so before you know it we might have to bring in some of them Under-23s into the squad.

Aston Villa players

“Aston Villa’s squad can be stretched at times when there’s injuries.

“It could be a chance for some of the young lads, Jacob Ramsey was on the bench recently, so these players might need to be used over the Christmas period, you never know.”

In other Aston Villa news, Kevin Phillips has tipped a record-breaking transfer after a “crazy” development.