Rushian Hepburn-Murphy is the fifth-youngest player in Premier League history. RHM earned the honor, as well as the honor of being Villa’s second-youngest player ever, when Tim Sherwood threw on the 16-year-old forward at Sunderland in March 2015. Since then, RHM struggled to maintain regular first-team football as Villa’s managerial carousel continued to spin. Different footballing philosophies and attitudes toward young players limited RHM’s opportunities, as well as injuries.
Villa’s finances, despite the fresh investment from the new ownership group, appear far from settled and player transfer activity looms large in RHM’s future. Should Villa look to cash in on signings such as Jonathan Kodjia, Scott Hogan, and/or Ross McCormack, RHM may just get his opportunity.
Hepburn-Murphy only saw senior team action three times last campaign, all coming off the bench. But the young striker looks like another young Villa academy player ready to break out after an outstanding season. RHM netted 9 goals in 10 appearances for the U23s - scoring a goal every 85 minutes he was on the pitch. And while leading the U23 out of PL2 and up into PL1 would be nice, having him as an additional attacking threat for the senior squad ready to push for promotion once again seems like a much better use of RHM’s talent.