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Dave’s Villa Blog

THE YOUNG ONES

09-04-2010

It’s not just Wembley where Villa will be playing a semi-final this week. The FA Youth Cup semi first-leg took place at Villa Park last night and Dave Woodhall was there.

One thing Villa have been good at over the past decade and a bit is bringing through young players. Not just for the Villa either; apparently the club’s Academy has the highest proportion of graduates who become professionals either here or elsewhere of any set-up in the country. This, more than any trophy wins, is the true hallmark of success.

Villa have an admirable record in the FA Youth Cup, having won the trophy on three occasions, the last being in 2002, getting to the final two years later and enjoying a good run in the competition most seasons.

In addition, they’ve found a lucrative source of income from selling on players who have failed to establish themselves in the first team squad.

The transfers of Luke Moore, Gary Cahill, Craig Gardner, Liam RidgEwell and Steven Davis have raised something like £15 million in the past few years. That’s not to be sniffed at. And it’s without the likes of

Gabriel Agbonlahor and the next new star, Nathan Delfouneso. If that’s not enough, the sight of local lads getting into the first team is a good example of positive role models and community work in action.

Last night’s game saw Villa get off to a poor start against Newcastle, going a goal down after nine minutes, but rallying after the break before getting an equaliser thanks to a bullet header from striker Kofi Posyer on the hour.

Apparently the Villa side are predominantly made up of first year trainees and looked smaller than their Newcastle counterparts, but came closest to getting a winner. They may be outsiders to go through to the final now, but whatever the result of the second leg, the real test will be in the years to come. Hopefully that Bodymoor Heath production line will just keep rolling.

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