He’s the wonderkid who really burst onto the Aston Villa scene at the back end of 2022. Top prospect Kadan Young grew up just down the road from a certain Gabby Agbonlahor in Erdington and, after a little over three years in Villa’s academy, is closing in on his first-team debut.
Young, who doesn’t turn 17 until next week, is pushing for FA Cup involvement this weekend against Stevenage after impressing Unai Emery ever since stepping up to first-team sessions back in October. After his senior bow against Cardiff in a midseason friendly, the rapid winger played a big part in Villa’s warm-weather camp out in Dubai, playing an hour across two matches with Brighton and Chelsea.
The teenager really caught the eye in his cameo against Graham Potter’s side and tormented Blues’ £56m full-back Marc Cucurella. “He’s so quick and an out-and-out winger which you don’t see enough of nowadays,” one of Young’s former coaches told BirminghamLive . “He’s got that Mbappe about him, where he’ll run, slow his man down, wanting the defender to stand still almost, then he’ll put the burners on.
“Honestly, he’s such a good kid. He’s got to keep working. He’s got a long way to go, he’ll know that, but this exposure with the first team will be brilliant for him. He’ll want more of that and that’s a good thing.
“The fans will tell you this as well… Villa love a good winger, don’t they, and Kadan’s one of them players, quick and direct. He’s your typically inner-city lad, a scary talent and a player that would not be fazed at all playing in front of 40,000 at Villa Park – even at 16!”
As for the player himself, Young wants to soak up as much as possible. In his sit down interview with Villa TV, the former Phoenix United player said: “It’s been an unbelievable experience being around these top-level players. I’m learning so much, especially from players who play in my position, seeing how they work off the ball and on the ball.
“It’s been top, just seeing how professional they are. But now I’ve got a taste of it, I want more of it. I know at some point I’ll drop back down with the 21s or 18s but this has given me the motivation to keep going because I want to be here more regularly.”
Young has been on Emery’s bench twice so far in the Premier League: against Liverpool and, in midweek, against Wolves. Speaking to BirminghamLive about Villa’s next big talent, Emery smiled: “A very good talent, but he’s so young. I am like a father to him! I know the academy is very good here. They have very good coaches.”
Asked if he’s in with a chance of making his first-team debut this weekend, Emery added: “Kadan is training with us every day but it is difficult to give him the responsibility on the pitch. I think it is good that he can stay with us, meetings, training every day, watching the match with us. He can play, but to give him the responsibility on the pitch I prefer to do it when he will be in the best mentality, or after more days with us and after sharing more time with us knowing how we can use his characteristics on the pitch.”