‘He deserves to be amongst this group’ - Steven Gerrard opens up on Cameron Archer status for new season

Cameron Archer continues to exceed expectations and his next task in front of him is to earn himself a starting place in Aston Villa’s first-team.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard believes young striker Cameron Archer ‘deserves’ to be amongst the first-team at Villa Park this season and is excited to see what he can achieve when given the opportunity over the course of the next 12 months.

The 20-year-old burst onto the scene last season with his performances in Villa’s cup competitions and after a successful loan move to Preston North End in the second-half of the season, has earned himself a place amongst the claret & blue’s senior squad for 22/23.

Preston have suffered a blow in their pursuit of Aston Villa forward Cameron Archer. The former Lilywhites loanee has impressed Steven Gerrard in pre-season and the Villa boss has admitted that he would keep Archer ‘at the moment’ and that he has given him ‘serious things to think about’. Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Watford and West Brom are also keen. (Sunderland Echo)

He jumped ahead of fellow striker Keinan Davis who himself spent the latter stage of the year on loan with Nottingham Forest and the task ahead of him now is to dislodge both Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings who sit in front of him in the first-team pecking order.

Speaking ahead of Villa’s Premier League opener with Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, Gerrard confirmed that Archer will be in the squad for the trip to the Vitality Stadium.

“We gave a lot of opportunities throughout pre-season,” explained the manager.

“Everyone’s situation is different, where they are at. I don’t want to go through every single individual but in terms of Cam, Cam will be in the squad tomorrow to travel down to Bournemouth.

“I’ve seen enough in pre-season that he deserves to be amongst this group. He’s had a positive pre-season, he’s done everything we asked of him, he’s gone away in the Championship and had a real positive loan.

“Preston did a real fantastic job with him but he’s proved he can score goals at this level so I’m not sure the right thing for him is to do the same thing.

“It’s important that we have him amongst this group and we have another striker option in that department and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can bring and contribute over the next 12 months.”