Aston Villa have told defender Ethan Patterson to find a new club ahead of the summer transfer window, Football Insider understands.

The 18-year-old northern Irishman is out of contract at the Midlands giants at the end of the season, when his two-year scholarship deal expires.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that the club have no plans to offer centre-back Patterson a contract extension and that he is free to find new employers.

Patterson’s representatives have already begun the process of finding him a new club and he is attracting interest from Championship and League One teams.

The teenager has been capped by Northern Ireland at Under-18s level and has also appeared regularly for Villa’s Under-18s side, captaining the side on a number of occasions.

Patterson has made 27 appearances in total for the club’s Under-18s but has not featured for them in the last month.

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He has been unable to establish himself at Under-23s level, widely seen as a key development level for those with the potential to break into the first team.

In other Aston Villa news, Whelan names the ‘exceptional’ player who ‘has singlehandedly carried Villa all season’.