General view during the Belgium v Spain UEFA European Under-17 Championship 2018 Quarter Final football match at Walsall FC Stadium, Walsall, UK on the 14th May 2018. Photo: Paul Currie for FA

Teenage defender promoted into Aston Villa first team squad

Aston Villa manager Gemma Davies has promoted teenage defender Olivia McLoughlin into the club’s first team squad according to reports on the club’s official website.

The 16-year-old right-back has impressed for Villa’s WSL academy side and has therefore gained herself the opportunity to link up with the senior squad.

McLoughlin will be available for selection for Aston Villa’s FA Women’s Continental League Cup quarter-final tie at Bristol City tomorrow night should manager Davies determine that her services are required.

The full-back joins what is a youthful Villa defensive unit. Excluding veteran defender Anita Asante and experienced campaigner Natalie Haigh, the average age of Villa’s defence is a little over 20 years old when you add McLoughlin into the mix. She is one of three defenders who are still in their teens with teammates Asmita Ale and Jodie Hutton aged just 19.

Villa boss Davies has not held back on giving experience to young players in the club’s debut campaign in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League. Ale and Hutton have made 12 league appearances between them while Emily Syme (20), Caro Siems and Shania Hayles (both 21) have missed just two league matches between them so far this season.

Should Villa defeat Bristol City in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup quarter-finals, they could be the second-highest ranked side remaining in the competition depending on results in the other ties.

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