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George Boateng: Steven Gerrard raising Aston Villa kids’ standards

George Boateng says Villa head coach Steven Gerrard is raising the standard of the academy by handing opportunities to young players.

Steven Gerrard meets the fans
Steven Gerrard meets the fans

Several youngsters flew to Australia for Villa’s pre-season tour and are now hoping to make an impact on the first-team squad once the Premier League campaign kicks off at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Professional development phase coach Boateng said: “They went there to really push and drive and take a shirt from one of the first-team players. Josh Feeney, we had really good feedback about Josh’s trip and the way he performed.

“It was similar for Kaine Kesler Hayden, I thought he was outstanding against Manchester United. Ben Chrisene got some minutes out there and Tim Iroegbunam is still playing with the first team.

“All these are encouraging signs for the young players that are with the under-21s.

“If you’re a young player and you can see your colleague getting an opportunity in the first team, it inspires you.

“That’s why we think what the gaffer is doing in giving the opportunities is tremendous and helping out the academy.”

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