Carney Chukwuemeka is one of those players that makes you stare in awe. The kind of player that you just can’t help but look up whenever he’s on the ball. Following a Premier League campaign that featured his first two starts for Aston Villa, the young Lion has utilised the UEFA Under-19 European Championships as an opportunity to stake his claim for a spot in Steven Gerrard’s first team squad next season. If not for Gerrard’s team, there may even be a chance for a loan move to develop his trade, before the inevitable moment in which he will become an elite level Premier League midfielder.
Style of PlayEmbed from Getty Images
Being a top quality ball carrier, Chukwuemeka already looks like a Premier League ready midfielder. In the Jacob Ramsey mold, the 18-year-old operates with the positional sense to cover gaps out of possession and simultaneously exploit spaces to receive. Combine that with his own vision to pick out passes to advanced teammates, and you get an accomplished footballer in the making. But the Villa man potentially possesses a few unorthodox assets of a central midfielder, such as his imposing 6’0 frame that makes him a nuisance for opposing midfielders. This allows him to excel on the dribble, where he can use his speed and dynamism to advance his team up the field. The Villa midfielder completed 6.06 progressive carries per 90 last season, and carried over that wonderful state-of-the-art control into the Euros this summer.Embed from Getty Images
At the Euros, Chukwuemeka also showcased a strong ability to time his runs into the box, and drive from deep to create chances in the final third. He can play as a ’10’ or ‘8’ depending on the shape and personnel surrounding him, but in either role he will demand the ball at his feet at every opportunity.
Defensively, he can sometimes be found ball-watching, waiting for the moments where he can strut his stuff in attack. As he energetically bursts up the field to drive his team forward, he simultaneously leaves a tremendous amount of work for himself to do in getting back into position and counter-pressing. This will need to expand as his stamina and endurance grows with age, but he also need to ramp up his own intensity and desire for the betterment of his team. When losing the ball on his own omission, Chukwuemeka shows the psychological skills to push and probe until he wins it back, and so that needs to heighten at the team and collective level. But evidently a remarkable footballer in the making, Aston Villa could easily make Carney Chukwuemeka their next Jacob Ramsey, as he operates in a number of different positions.
In possessionEmbed from Getty Images
Providing a wide range of attacking talents, the young midfielder is most renowned for the way he dribbles the ball. Whether it be trying to form a counter-attack inside his own third, bursting past midfielders in the middle of the pitch, or progressing the ball into the area for a shooting chance, Villa’s young star seems to be fully comfortable of making magic happen with the ball at his feet anywhere, anytime. Additionally, his slick movement on the turn makes him a strenuous figure to mark. Exceptional in tight spaces, Chukwuemeka is often able to send his defenders flying with one swift movement or touch of the foot. Being able to go either direction only adds to his repertoire of advantages, making him a particularly unpredictable talent.Embed from Getty Images
Concerning offensive output, Chukwuemeka made himself an expert at threading through balls for his striker at the summer tournament – either Dane Scarlett or Liam Delap. His capabilities suit a system involving an advanced forward prepared to make runs in behind, where he can play one-two’s and bounce off a figurehead up top. As well as his dribbling and passing talents, the Englishman’s game is capped off with a wave of composure in front of goal that commonly ensures he can slot home the finish. The 18-year-old scored 3 goals with 2 assists in 5 matches, catching the eye as one of the most essential player’s to England’s historic win.
Out of PossessionEmbed from Getty Images
Defensively, Chukwuemeka possesses strong positional awareness and has enough anticipation to make crucial interceptions for his side. His imposing frame helps with both the strength to hold off speedy attackers going the other way, and the aerial presence to win duels when required.Embed from Getty Images
Unfortunately, a drawback to the Englishman’s defensive game is his occasional lack of exertion. It would be ruthless to claim he never works for the team, however, there are times where you would expect more intense running and pressuring from the youngster. Chukwuemeka will need to learn when to conserve his energy and hold off on pressing intensely, as opposed to the moments where it may be most required. When engaging in his 1v1 battles, the Villa midfielder holds his own, showcasing that he’s more than capable when he puts in the effort.
Possible loansEmbed from Getty Images
After a successful summer at the Euros, Carney Chukwuemeka will be catching the attention of clubs around Europe. German clubs famously love taking young Englishmen on loan, but perhaps the 18-year-old could stay in the Premier League. Nottingham Forest have been rumoured to be circling around the Villa man, in their attempts to replace Manchester United’s James Garner. Chukwuemeka could provide an additional play-making presence in their midfield to support the attacking endeavours of Brennan Johnson and Taiwo Awoniyi, and fit their vertical, high-paced style of play.
Fulham could be another intriguing destination for the youngster on a season-long loan, backing up their recent signing of Joao Palhinha. The loss of Fabio Carvalho will hurt the Cottagers this season, and Chukwuemeka’s similar style could be a perfect fit to replace the Liverpool-bound youngster. Marco Silva’s 4-2-3-1 system prioritizes fluid, short-passing football that will allow the England Under 19’s starlet to showcase his distribution and stay in the Premier League.
But if Steven Gerrard is willing to guarantee the youngster minutes, there’s no reason why this can’t be Chukwuemeka’s breakthrough season at Villa Park.
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Carney Chukwuemeka has been one of the stars of the Under 19 European Championships. Scoring 3 goals with 2 assists in 5 matches puts him right up there with the best goal contributors of the tournament, even despite often playing a more reserved role in midfield. Possessing extraordinary physicality and superb technical quality to match, Chukwuemeka must be on the radar for any club wishing to expand their horizons and improve upon their attacking play. He will need a few years to work out his defensive appetite and grow into the game, but Carney Chukwuemeka could easily be the next Jacob Ramsey in the making.
So there it is! An analysis of what the future may hold for Carney Chukwuemeka, after his successful summer for England at this summer’s U19 Euros. Be sure to check out more from this series, and follow on social media @mastermindsite to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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