This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Aston Villa and Manchester United are both keen on signing Fleetwood Town teenager Josh Feeney, according to the Daily Mail.
The 16-year-old defender is set to leave the League One club at the end of the month, with Villa understood to be the frontrunner and Man United recently enquiring.
But which club would be the best next step for him?
Our FLW writers share their thoughts…
If we’re looking at it realistically, he should be looking at a move to Aston Villa.
Feeney is a bright talent at Fleetwood Town, and he could turn out to be an excellent signing for both Manchester United or Aston Villa.
I’ve been really impressed with the academy setup at Villa Park in particular though, and there’s a clear pathway through to the first-team as well, which is likely to tempt Feeney here.
We’ve seen the likes of Louie Barry thriving with Villa this season, and Feeney could be the next player to follow in his footsteps in making an impact at that level.
Obviously the prospect of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world with Manchester United will tempt any player, but it seems more likely that he’ll feature at senior level for Aston Villa in the future.
So I’d have to say I’d pursue a move to Aston Villa over the Red Devils for now.
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This is a difficult one and it would be a major choice for such a young player to have to make that he will have to get right for his potential long-term development. Aston Villa at the moment have got a very talented pool of young players coming through by the looks of it and he could fit in well with that environment at Villa Park.
Dean Smith is not afraid to give young players chances in the first team at Villa, so if Feeney moves there he will know that if he puts the work in and develops in the right way then he will have that pathway to the first team open to him.
However, Manchester United as well are a club with a proud tradition of bringing through young prospects when they have shown they deserve a chance in the first team. Getting chances at Old Trafford though would be tough for Feeney and he would have to do a lot of developing first of all to justify it.
Feeney is a player with vast amounts of potential and he will believe he is good enough to make it into either Aston Villa or Manchester United’s setup in the coming years. For me, though he might have a slightly better chance of making the first team at Villa.
I’d be tempted to go for Aston Villa at this moment in time if I was Feeney.
Admittedly, the size of Manchester United means they may be a more appealing prospect from a financial perspective, and their chances of winning silverware in the not too distant future.
However, for that reason, United are more likely to be relying on established senior individuals, meaning a move to Villa is one that you feel could offer Feeney the chance to break into the first-team and potentially enjoy Premier League football sooner rather than later.
Indeed, we have seen this season that there is also plenty of ability in Villa’s own youth team, meaning there is talent and ability in there that could help Feeney to improve and develop his own game, something which could even set him up for a move to a club such as United further down the line in his career that it should be remembered is still only at a very early stage.