By Danny Mills

28th Dec, 2020 | 9:00pm

Mills Exclusive: Smith can't trust Villa powerhouse amid big Jan transfer development

Powerhouse Aston Villa striker Keinan Davis is stuck in the “no man’s land” between the Under-23s and first-team.

That is the view of former England defender Danny Mills, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, about the future of the 22-year-old.

Football Insider revealed last week Championship clubs Preston North End, Huddersfield Town and QPR are keeping close tabs on the forward with Villa planning on letting him leave on loan next month.

Davis has been limited to just 38 minutes of Premier League action this season with summer signing Ollie Watkins starting all of Villa’s game this season.

However, Mills has suggested managers may be put off signing Davis because of his lack of experience.

“As a young player, you want to play games,” he told Football Insider.

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“In the past, this is where it’s been difficult for young players. You get caught in the no man’s land between the youth team and first team.

“You’re clearly a good player, you’ve clearly got ability, you’ve clearly got quality.

“As you start to drop down the leagues and go out on loan managers look at it and go ‘Can I trust him? Do I know what he’s going to be like in that environment when it’s all on the line?

“Do I know how he is going to react in those situations? Do I take a young player with talent and gamble? Or do I get a senior pro from somewhere who I know what I’m going to get.

“He might not be as good but I’m going to get 6.5,7/10 every week whereas the young lad might be less consistent. It’s a little bit more up and down.’”

Davis has played 72 times for Villa but has only started four league games for the club since December 2017.

In 20 Premier League appearances, he has not scored or registered an assist.

In other news, Kevin Phillips has dropped a shock Ross Barkley claim amid an Aston Villa development.