Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has offered starlets Tommi O’Reilly and Josh Feeney ‘the chance of a lifetime’ after getting them involved in first-team training at Villa Park, according to journalist Dean Jones.
Gerrard, who was appointed as the Midlands giants’ boss last November, spent more than £60million on bolstering his squad during the summer transfer window but is still looking to offer opportunities to the club’s best up-and-coming talent.
What’s the latest news involving O’Reilly and Feeney?
O’Reilly and Feeney were spotted training with the first-team squad at Aston Villa’s Bodymoor Heath base as Gerrard’s squad prepared to face Leicester City last week.
Although the Premier League clash did not go ahead as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the youngsters will be keen to make the step up and earn their senior debuts in the not-too-distant future.
O’Reilly penned his first professional contract with Villa in March and was an unused substitute on four occasions last season as Gerrard looked to integrate the 18-year-old into the first-team squad.
The 17-year-old was named on the bench as Villa overcame Bolton Wanderers in the second round of the Carabao Cup last month.
What has Dean Jones said about the duo?
Jones believes promoting two of the club’s hottest prospects should be viewed as a positive if Gerrard has picked the right time to integrate them into the set-up.
The journalist feels O’Reilly and Feeney will be desperate to show the Villa chief what they can do and make an impact at Bodymoor Heath.
Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “I think it’s always a good message to send out if it’s the right timing.
“For those young players, it’s the chance of a lifetime to impress Steven Gerrard, get among those stars and try to make an impact because you never know what could happen.”
Why has Gerrard promoted O’Reilly and Feeney to the first-team?
Villa have scored just five goals in their opening six Premier League fixtures of the season, resulting in them going into their home fixture against Southampton, on Friday, sitting fourth-from-bottom in the standings.
Attacking midfielder O’Reilly could help to make the Midlands giants more prolific if he is given the opportunity as he has found the back of the net eight times and provided a further three assists for the under-18s.
Meanwhile, Feeney caught Gerrard’s eye during Villa’s pre-season tour of Australia, with the head coach stating he has a ‘huge future’ ahead of him and ‘it’ll be a matter of time before he makes his debut for Aston Villa’.