Cameron Archer has an uncertain future at Aston Villa as his contract is up next summer and he’s yet to put pen to paper on an extension. The 19-year-old has broken into the first-team this season and has been full of goals at senior level, so Villa will be desperate to hold on to him if possible.

The Midlands outfit have wanted to tie Archer down to a new deal for months amid interest from clubs in Europe, offering him a payrise and more first-team football, but it remains to be seen if he’ll accept. Noel Whelan didn’t speak of his future but believes he needs to be loaned out to continue his development.

He told Football Insider: “He’s a smashing player. All the goals we’ve seen him score have been taken really well. Very cultured, very controlled, he knows exactly what he wants to do with each finish. He seems like a natural goalscorer from any area – in or outside the box.

“I think he’s a player who needs to make the step up in his career – for the benefit or him and Villa. He’s got to that stage now where under 23’s football just isn’t enough. You can see that he can handle the demands of playing against senior sides.

“Now is the right time to give him a different challenge and let him find his feet in order to progress his career so he can come back to Villa a better player.” Archer has scored 14 goals and made six assists in 32 games for the U23s while scoring four goals in five games for the senior squad.

Whelan has a point when he says that Archer is too good for the reserves, but the 19-year-old has played in Villa’s last two Premier League games and should get more minutes as the season continues, so it wouldn’t be the worst thing if he stayed.

In other news, Kevin Phillips says Keinan Davis could be replaced by Cameron Archer