Aston Villa fans will have been keeping a close eye on the progress of Middlesbrough this season, with two of their brightest young stars currently on loan with the Championship side.
Cameron Archer has long been lauded as one to watch at Villa Park and has certainly shown glimpses of his potential with Michael Carrick’s side, notching ten goals and six assists in just 18 appearances in the second tier.
However, he is likely to remain behind Ollie Watkins in the pecking order in Unai Emery’s side and unless the Spanish manager changes his formation in order to accommodate both next season, it is difficult to see Archer becoming a regular in the Premier League.
Emery could promote Aaron Ramsey into his starting side next term considering his impressive performances, with the Englishman likely to compete with Emiliano Buendia in the attacking midfield role, given the Argentine’s lack of goal involvement in the top flight so far this term.
Who is Aaron Ramsey?
Ramsey, who is the younger brother of Jacob, spent the first half of the Championship season with Norwich City, where he would manage a respectable three goals and three assists in 18 appearances.
Since linking up with Carrick at Middlesbrough, the 20-year-old has taken his game to another level, notching five goals and one assist in just 11 Championship outings, with a superb WhoScored average rating of 7.16 for his performances.
For context, the top performer at Villa so far this season has been Watkins with a 7.01 rating from WhoScored, so Ramsey will surely be eyeing up a first-team spot when the 2023/24 campaign rolls around.
While Archer and Ramsey’s performances weren’t quite enough for Boro to seal automatic promotion from the second tier, they will likely be key figures for Carrick in the playoffs, and could well help the north east side return to the Premier League.
Carrick was full of praise for Ramsey’s role in his side earlier in the season, saying:
“AJ was brilliant. He’s a selfless player. He makes selfless runs for those around him, he’s intelligent, he sacrifices himself and understands what others around him are good at.
“He’s just a good footballer. He’s fitter and stronger, because athleticism is a big part of his game, but I thought his football intelligence and quality on the ball was fantastic.”
Despite Villa’s impressive form in recent weeks which has them on the brink of the Champions League spots, Buendia has just five goals and two assists in 33 appearances in the top flight, with a disappointing 6.74 rating from WhoScored.
The Argentine also averages fewer shots (1.2 vs 1.7) and dribbles (0.7 vs 1.8) per game than Ramsey, so the academy graduate could easily take Buendia’s place in the first team if he can transform his strong recent form into equally impressive Premier League displays throughout 2023/24.
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