Exeter City wish Ben Chrisene all the best after the 16-year-old midfielder completed a move to Premier League side Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee.
Ben who joined Exeter City’s Academy at the age of 11, has excelled whilst playing for the Grecians youth teams and been capped at both under-15 and under-16 level for England.
He made his debut in the EFL Cup against Coventry City on August 13, 2019, making him our youngest ever player at the age of 15 years, seven months and one day, and he featured in three of Leasing.com Trophy games and a Sky Bet League Two match against Cambridge United last season as well.
Ben Chrisene in action for the Grecians
Manager Matt Taylor said Ben goes to Villa Park with the club’s best wishes, although he admits it is disappointing for supporters that they didn’t get to see more of the youngster in action.
“Ben goes with our best wishes,” said Matt. “He has gone to a Premier League Club, which we are delighted about. However, it is a shame that we are losing our players before we get the chance to really work with them.
“We had to balance Ben’s final year in school with his training, within the first team environment, and his availability for fixtures. So, the move is a great reflection on the work the academy and first team coaches have done in terms of developing young players, but is a shame for the fans because they haven’t really seen Ben Chrisene play.
“He got a couple of minutes in a home league fixture and came on late in the cup game against Coventry, but he hasn’t had enough appearances to get any relationship with the fans. That is a real shame because it is part and parcel of our club and the fans want to see the young talent coming through.”
Speaking about the fee itself though, president and director of football and external affairs, Julian Tagg praised Aston Villa for their professional approach and fairness during the transfer dealing.
“Whilst the fee is undisclosed, when a possible arbitration fee is considered we are pleased with the valuation,” he said. “Aston Villa have been very professional and fair in their dealings with Exeter City and we as a club would like to acknowledge that.
“We must of course thank our coaching staff, in the academy and the first team environment, for their continued excellent work in producing players of such high quality, but also recognise the hard work and dedication both Ben and his family have shown whilst he has been part of academy and first team set-up.
“Ben is a talented footballer, but also one who works hard and is dedicated to learning and improving. Therefore, he deserves all the success he gets, and we wish him well at Aston Villa and hope he goes onto have a long and successful career at the top of the game.”