Niall Mason was snapped up by Spanish giants Real Madrid – at the age of seven. After some time in Madrid, Mason moved back to England and joined the Blackburn Rovers youth setup. Southampton then swept in for the youngster at the age of 17.

His move to Southampton gave fans real belief, that he could follow in players footsteps like Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott, who were prodigies of Southampton’s youth team. The fans soon recognised the youngster’s talents, when he scored against their local rivals in a 7-0 hammering of Portsmouth. He made nine appearances for Southampton’s under 21’s side, but could never break into the first-team squad.

Back in April, it was looking doom and gloom for the Brighton-born midfielder, who was released by Southampton, when his contract expired. Fortunately, Aston Villa decided to offer him a trial at the club, which he was successful in, and this summer, he completed a permanent deal to the club.

Although, Southampton didn’t decide to give this player another opportunity, Aston Villa did decide to. He has started in Villa’s last six U21 fixtures.

The 18-year-old midfielder wouldn’t have been expecting a call up into the first team quite so soon, but he was in for a surprise, when Tim Sherwood played him in both games in Portugal, on Villa’s pre-season tour. After two impressive performances in the Algarve, he then continued with some more pre-season action back in England. He appeared against Swindon Town and Forest Green in two further friendlies. Pre-season giving an eye-opener for Villa fans on the youngster.

Since his move from Southampton in the summer, the young prodigy has already gained plenty of experience at Aston Villa, and although it would be a huge shock if he featured in Villa’s first team this season, the Villa fans can still be expecting to see this man pop up into the squad at some point.

This player isn’t just a centre-midfielder, he can also play at centre-back or in defensive-midfield, showing his key versatility if Villa were in need of a player to step up to the plate, he may just have the potential to be that key player in Villa’s squad, in a few seasons time.