Aston Villa could have a new Gareth Barry coming through the system in 18-year-old starlet Ben Chrisene.
Chrisene was part of the U18 squad that clinched the FA Youth Cup, where he scored the opener in the final against Liverpool U18s and back in January this year, he signed a contract extension after impressing first-team manager Steven Gerrard.
“[He is a] really good prospect,” claimed the Liverpool legend. “We’re really excited to try to help him become a Premier League player.”
By February, the teenage sensation was part of the travelling squad, featuring on the bench against Leeds United, so there is a clear intention that he could well become a mainstay this season, especially given the lack of backup behind Lucas Digne at left-back.
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The former Exeter City prospect is also capable of playing in midfield, which has earned exciting comparisons to former academy graduate turned skipper, Barry.
“Chrisene’s a bit of a Gareth Barry,” suggested Birmingham Mail reporter Ashley Preece in a recent online Q&A with supporters. “A midfielder but he has slotted in seamlessly at full-back. I see him as a CM further down the line; a good left-back at present and a position he can make his mark playing in should he move out on loan.”
Having represented England at U17 level, it’s evident that Chrisene is a hugely promising talent who could be nurtured into a future star, in the right hands.
Given Gerrard’s experience, both as a player and manager, he is surely not in better company.
The Villa View’s Ty Bracey is also a big fan of the 18-year-old, once claiming that Chrisene “is going to be some player in a few years time.”
With Villa yet to sign back up to Lucas Digne, we could well see the young prodigy feature more often heading into the 2022/23 campaign.
On the above evidence, he could well become the club’s next Gareth Barry.