Dean Smith and Aston Villa have mapped out an exciting plan for teenage sensation Carney Chukwuemeka after his breathtaking exploits in the FA Youth Cup. Smith, meanwhile, informed BirminghamLive that Villa have a plan for Chukwuemeka with the standout talent being amongst the first-team group since January.

Dean Smith said: “He’s got a pathway at the football club. He’s got a plan at the football club. He’s doing extremely well. He’s training with the first-team regularly. He’s been on the bench for us. He’s been in a number of squads and he’s doing excellently. We’re really pleased with his progress so far.”

On the hype surrounding Villa’s 6ft playmaker,

Dean Smith added: “Yes, there has to be a little bit of… He’s doing very well in age-football at the moment and I recall watching Wayne Rooney play against Aston Villa in the FA Youth Cup final in 2002… I remember watching the game and he developed very quickly as a player. Our job is finding that balance for their development; the maturation of the players. Carney’s in a good place with us at the moment training with us and he’s enjoying he’s football. You could see against Newcastle (FA Youth Cup quarter-final) he was the standout player.”

Villa snapped up Chukwuemeka from Northampton Town’s academy in March 2016. He’s in with a shout of making Villa’s bench at Everton on Saturday having been amongst Smith’s substitutes in games against Wolves and Man City this season. Chukwuemeka also travels regularly as Villa’s extra man and continues to work post-match with fitness coach Jack Sharkey.

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