Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow has backed his youngsters to embark on the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” of facing Liverpool’s first team.
Villa will field a youthful squad in Friday’s FA Cup clash after a coronavirus outbreak in the first-team camp.
The West Midlanders closed their Bodymoor Heath training facilities on Thursday and cancelled training.
As such, doubt emerged about whether the match would go ahead. However, Under-23s boss Mark Delaney will take charge of an inexperienced team.
Despite their lack of senior action, though, Purslow insists that the players involved will learn a lot from the match. Their opponents will field a strong side full of first-team players.
“I think it is an absolute dream opportunity for some very young players to play against the Premier League, European and World Champions tonight,” the club chief told Sky Sports News.
“I’m jealous of those guys, it’s an absolute dream come true for them. Mark Delaney will be taking charge. Obviously nobody within our first team bubble will be anywhere near Liverpool or Villa Park tonight.
“It is a brilliant opportunity for young players for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play against Liverpool in the FA Cup third round.
“They will give their all for Aston Villa, I’m sure. I sincerely hope it is a great night for our young Villa team.”
Liverpool, meanwhile, will play the likes of Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino. Thiago Alcantara and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also receive game time following recent injuries.
Purslow describes ‘alarming’ situation
Purslow confirmed that Villa became aware of a “significant spike” in cases on Wednesday. In the past six days, the club have received 14 positive tests.
Ten of those are players and all affected have entered a period of self-isolation.
Purslow admitted that the sudden escalation in cases was “alarming”.
He added: “Our priority today has been trying to help get this FA Cup tie on. Our club has a very proud tradition in the FA Cup. We are glad to get it through.”
READ MORE: Villa ready to do deal striker as three Champ clubs are linked