Cameron Archer has confirmed he has signed his first professional contract with Aston Villa.
The striker has been with the club for more than a decade, after initially training with Villa at the age of six.
Archer is one of the most highly rated players within Villa’s academy, notching four times this season in the curtailed Premier League 2 season.
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Dean Smith is also a big admirer and called up the 18-year-old to the senior squad for the Carabao Cup win over Crewe.
And he has now confirmed he has agreed terms with Villa, posting on social media: “Very happy to have signed a professional contract with @avfcofficial. I want to thank everyone who has supported me so far, more than 10 years of hard work to get here and we’re only just getting started.”
Smith is keen for the most talented players in the development squads to taste senior football, with U23s boss Mark Delaney also confirming the change of plan since Mark Harrison became academy director.
“We’ve got about eight [academy] players out on loan which is good,” Delaney said earlier this year.
“We haven’t done that in the past but since academy boss Mark Harrison’s come in he’s very keen to get lads out to give them different experiences.
“That’s really important to where we’re going. We’re all about development and being able to put players in positions where they find it tough and challenging is where you find out about players and their potential.”
Should he earn a loan move in the coming weeks, he could line up against his elder brother Jordan. Also a striker, he’s been plying his trades in the lower leagues in recent years – most recently with League Two outfit Port Vale.