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Aston Villa new boy Jhon Duran "ready to play" says boss Unai Emery

Unai Emery has told Jhon Duran the future is now as the teenage striker prepares to make his Premier League debut against Leicester on Saturday.

The 19-year-old is available for the first time since his £15million move from Chicago Fire and boss Emery believes he is ready to contribute as Villa look to continue their climb up the Premier League table.

Though Emery is wary of placing too much pressure on his shoulders, Villa’s failure to sign an experienced replacement for Danny Ings means the youngster will be needed over the second half of the season, with Ollie Watkins now the club’s only recognised senior striker.

The boss explained: “We are not putting him (Duran) under pressure. But I have spoken with him about the future.

“The future is today, it is tomorrow – as soon as possible is better. He has trained very well and has potential.

“We might see that potential in two weeks, maybe one month, maybe one year. But we are going to work to use him to try to help us now.”

Villa fought off competition from the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United to secure Duran’s signature for a fee which could eventually be worth £18m.

Emery, who watched clips of the Colombia international prior to his signing, has now had the chance to see him up close in training.

He said: “He was playing in the MLS and it is not the same. The Premier League is possibly the best league in the world and he is now going to face better defenders.

“But he has potential. We are only going to know it trying to improve him each session and giving him responsibility on the pitch.

“His mind is strong and I think he is ready to take the responsibility and opportunity. He is in the squad. He is going to play maybe with Watkins or perhaps replacing him, it depends. He is ready to play, to help us.”

Emery, who also signed left-back Alex Moreno for £13m, declared himself satisfied with the club’s January business.

“If we could add an experienced striker, who could improve our strikers and our squad, of course we would have done it,” he added.

“But it is not easy to find such a player in the January window. We are trying to improve the team and become more competitive in each position.”

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