A number of Aston Villa youngsters have announced their exit from Villa Park in recent months, and speaking to BBC Radio West Midlands, manager Dean Smith has said why.

Dean Smith has said that Aston Villa youngsters have been allowed to move on from the club this summer because they are looking to bring through youngsters who hold the potential to represent the club at a high Championship and Premier League level.

Midfielder Jordan Lyden announced his departure from the club a few months ago after coming through the club’s academy ranks. Mitchell Clark – who spent last season on loan with League Two side Port Vale – has also been allowed to find a new club this summer.

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“I think historically as a football club we have had players come through the system and done very well from it,” Smith said.

“We have had a look at the U-23’s squad recently, a number of contracts have come up and we have released quite a few of them. 

“I think you get to a stage where these players get to 21, 22 and 23 and you have to look at them and say, ‘Are they a top-six Championship player?’ ‘Are they going to be a top-six Championship player or Premier League player?’

“If not, we have to let them go on and pursue their careers and help them with their future pathways because you’re not helping them by keeping them around.”

Jack Grealish is the perfect example of a player to come through the youth academy at Villa Park and cement their place as a firm fan favourite amongst the Villa faithful. Andre Green and Keinan Davis have also been more involved this season, and they will be hoping they can continue to be a part of Dean Smith’s first-team plans next season – if they win promotion to the Premier League or not.

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Writer for The72 and currently studying at the University of Lincoln. Based in Peterborough/ Lincoln and often writing about Peterborough United amongst other Championship and League One clubs.