Brady reveals the 'fantastic story' behind Chukwuemeka's rise from college football to Aston Villa

Town boss backs teenager to break into Villa's first-team

By James Heneghan
Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 2:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 2:36 pm
Marc Richards and Caleb Chukwuemeka.
Marc Richards and Caleb Chukwuemeka.

Jon Brady has revealed the 'fantastic story' behind Caleb Chukwuemeka' s rapid rise from college football to the top of the English game.

Whilst the 19-year-old can now call himself a Premier League player, it was only a few short years ago that he was without a club and training down at Moulton College.

Spotted by Brady - academy manager at the time - one afternoon, Chukwuemeka joined the Cobblers as 16-year-old on a youth deal and within a year he was banging in the goals for the U18s.

He first caught the eye of the wider public in pre-season 12 months ago but he was initially kept on the fringes after having his hunger questioned by then-manager Keith Curle.

However, a 'dramatic change' in attitude followed and he became a regular member of Town's first-team squad throughout last season, making 28 appearances and two goals.

Rumours of interest from clubs higher up the pyramid persisted, and with Chukwuemeka unwilling to sign a new contract at Sixfields, his move to Aston Villa was confirmed earlier this week.

"He was a young player I found two and a half years ago down at Moulton training with the college," said Brady.

"I was just going for my lunch and I looked at him and thought 'wow, he's a good mover' so I asked their coach - he was very reluctant to let him go to me!

"But I kept pestering him and we had Caleb in the week after and then he scored 20-odd goals in our youth team the following season.

"He just went on and on and on and he's also a local boy as well - isn't that a fantastic story? It's a great reflection on our academy to have a young player come all the way through and go on to sign for a Premier League side."

Brady says Chukwuemeka's rise is a great example for all young players, and he believes the teenager has the potential to break into Villa's first-team.

"It shows young players that if you have the talent and if you never give up, you will get a chance, and that's what happened with Caleb," Brady added.

"We're all really pleased for him. I sent a text to him and said that now is where the real hard work starts because I want to see him really kick-on with his career and push to get into their team.

"I don't want him to think that he's made it because he hasn't. With the potential he's got, he needs to really push on and have that drive to get into their first-team."