Aston Villa are tracking highly-rated Carlisle United defender Jarrad Branthwaite ahead of January, Football Insider understands.

The teenager, 17, has broken into the first team of the League Two club this season and he has caught the eye of scouts at multiple clubs.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that the club sent scouts to watch Branthwaite in action in Saturday’s clash at Port Vale and the defender again impressed despite Carlisle losing 2-1.

Villa see Branthwaite as a potential star in the making and they are expected to continue to monitor him as they weigh up a move for him this winter.

Carlisle are aware of the growing interest in the youngster from a number of clubs and they are bracing themselves for interest in him when the transfer window reopens in January.

The talented centre-back has made nine appearances in all competitions for Carlisle so far this season and his potential has caught the attention of clubs higher up the football pyramid.

Despite his tender age, Branthwaite already cuts an imposing figure, standing at 6ft 4in.

The homegrown star has been at the north-west club since the age of eight and has progressed through the ranks to establish himself in the first team.

He signed a two-year contract with an option at the end of February 2019, which ties him to the fourth-tier club until at least the summer of 2021.

In other Aston Villa news, Dean Smith has given the green light for club chiefs to sell one of his 2019 signings brought in for big money.