Aston Villa’s youth system boasts some of the most exciting young talents in the world. The youth system has added the likes of Carney Chukwuemeka, Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Cameron Archer and Jacob Ramsey to the first team, to name a few.
Jacob is the most experienced in the first team, having earned 30 appearances and scoring his first goal against Arsenal. However, Jacob is not the only Ramsey who is making waves at Aston Villa, younger brother Aaron made the bench in Aston Villa’s Premier League defeat to West Ham after notching up an impressive five goals and four assists over nine games in all competitions as part of the under 23’s.
In this article, I will be taking a closer look at the brothers who could well be the future of Aston Villa.
Both of the lads grew up in Great Barr, an area where ex-Aston Villa manager Dean Smith also grew up, which is less than 5 miles away from Villa Park. They were both raised as avid Villa fans. Arguably, the reason why the lads have taken so effortlessly to the lifestyle of an athlete is that they were both raised in a very sporting household. The boys younger brother is part of the Aston Villa academy, their sister has featured in numerous athletics tournaments, and their father fought a young Ricky Hatton not once but twice.
Educationally, both boys followed the same route; they both attended the same primary school and, later on, the same secondary school. I spoke to the secondary school PE teacher who taught both brothers so that I could find out more about the boys’ character and early life:
In three words, describe Aaron and Jacob.
Aaron – Joker, Popular, Engaging
Jacob – Determined, Confident, Respectful
What were the two boys like in school?
Both boys were very likeable, polite students, and always had a good sense of humour. They were confident indeed highly confident when it came to sport, but neither was ever arrogant.
How committed to school were the boys?
Aaron worked very hard for his GCSEs and achieved an excellent grade for English Literature. Jacob was not lazy at school, but he was confident in making it as a footballer.
Was there a particular moment when you realised the skill of the brothers?
For Jacob, PE GCSE mock moderation. He was playing 30-40 yard passes with both feet without the player having to move. For Aaron, when we played Streetly Academy [a local school], he was doing Messi skills around their whole team.
Finally, in your opinion, how far can the Ramseys go?
I would like to think they could go all the way. They are already in the England set-up at the younger age groups.
THE YOUTH SYSTEM
Jacob made his debut at under-18 level for Aston Villa in the 2016/17 season when he was only 16; he scored his first goal against Fulham’s Under 18s. His first season was relatively quiet; his second was far from it. He recorded seven goals and three assists in eighteen appearances and started his progression into the under 23s. The 18/19 season was the season when Jacob Ramsey announced himself to Villa fans. In 25 appearances, he picked up thirteen goal involvements. In addition to this, on the 13th February 2019, Ramsey was called up to the first team and was placed on the bench for Aston Villa’s Championship fixture against Brentford. Three days later, Jacob made his professional debut for Aston Villa in a home match against local rivals West Bromwich Albion.
Like his older brother, Aaron made his debut for Aston Villa under 18s at 16. Ramsey picked up his first England appearance for the under 16s against Croatia, the first of five appearances that season. In his second season of youth football, Ramsey continued to impress for England, picking up five starts and coming on a substitute four more times. For two of the games against Germany and the Czech Republic, he was made the captain of the squad. At club level, Ramsey made sixteen appearances and nine-goal involvements. However, it was last season (20/21) where Ramsey impressed. Across 26 appearances at youth level, Aaron managed to notch up 19 goal involvements, thirteen goals and six assists. He also saw his team lift the FA Youth Cup for the first time in nineteen years. This year, Aaron has started the season off incredibly strongly with nine-goal involvements, five goals and four assists in all youth competitions, which has caught the eye of Dean Smith, who has called him up for games in the Carabao Cup and Premier League.
FIRST TEAM FOOTBALL
Jacob’s first taste of first-team football was not a pretty one, but one that he will likely treasure for the rest of his life. With West Bromwich Albion comfortably in the lead at Villa Park, Jacob Ramsey replaces Conor Hourihane just after the hour mark. Ramsey played well, but that was his only experience of first-team football that season.
The next season Ramsey’s performances saw him on the bench for Villa’s demolition of Crewe Alexandra in the cup. In the next round, he would come off the bench with ten minutes left to play to see out a 3-1 victory. Despite Villa making it too the final of that year’s Carabao cup, Ramsey had to wait until the first round of the FA Cup to get his next minutes for the senior team where he played the last four minutes of a 1-0 defeat away to Fulham. What happened next was pivotal to Jacob Ramsey becoming the player he is today. On the last day of the January transfer window Jacob Ramsey headed up to Doncaster Rovers on loan for the rest of the season. Here he made his first professional start against Tranmere Rovers. Ramsey took this opportunity into his stride by scoring twice on his first start. Ramsey’s first goal was from a corner into the box which failed to be cleared. It fell to the feet of Ramsey who made no mistake of striking it cleanly into the back of the net. Later on in the game, Ramsey’s second goal came courtesy of another lovely cross which Ramsey got his head too. Ramsey finished the season just as how he started it, getting on the end of a cross and hammering the ball into the back of the net.
Ramsey returned to Villa, for the 20/21 season which turned out to be the breakout season for the eldest Ramsey brother. The playmaker played 22 times in total in the Premier League making his first start against Wolves in another local derby. He also featured in all of Villa’s Carabao cup fixtures, producing an assist which can only be described as simply sublime against Bristol City. So far this year, Ramsey has made nine appearances in the league picking up his first ever goal for Aston Villa which was a long shot into the top corner. Unfortunately that proved too be a consolation goal in a 3-1 hammering by the hands of Arsenal.
Just like Jacob, Aaron made his first appearance on an Aston Villa team sheet when he took a place on the bench against Brentford. However, a few days before that Aaron Ramsey played his first minutes for Aston Villa’s senior team when he replaced his older brother in a 6-1 battering of Barrow. Later on in the competition, Ramsey would take a seat on the bench yet again but this time he was unused as Aston Villa exited the cup via a penalty shootout loss to Chelsea. Ramsey took too the bench again in a disappointing 4-1 loss to West Ham in the league.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The future of these two young footballers looks to be a fascinating one and one that will hopefully see them become household names not just in Birmingham but across the world. The sky is the limit for both brothers, and I am so excited to see what’s in store for these Great Barr wonderkids. I see no reason why both brothers can’t make it into senior England set up in years to come, and I believe the world will fall in love with them. For as long as Aaron and Jacob Ramsey and the likes of Cameron Archer, Philogene-Bidace, the Chukwuemeka brothers and others are at Aston Villa, the future will be in very, very safe hands.
Thank you for reading this article. Be sure to comment your thoughts on the Ramsey’s and how far you can see them going.
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