Aston Villa's new teenage starlet Louie Barry aims to break into their first team this season to help his beloved hometown team beat the drop.

Dean Smith's Villa are 17th in the Premier League after losing at fellow strugglers Bournemouth last weekend.

They are without record £22million signing Wesley for the rest of the season after the striker was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

But they acted in January to bring in forwards Mbwana Samatta and Borja Baston plus teenage England U17 hitman Barry from Barcelona.

Barry, 16, is a lifelong Villa fan who came through West Brom's academy before a controversial switch to Barca last summer.

He is now determined to play a role in helping the Carabao Cup finalists stay in the top-flight after a quick return to England.

Louie Barry joined Aston Villa from Barcelona in January

Barry, who cost an initial £1million rising to potentially £3m, said: “I am fighting for the first team.

“What I want to do first at Villa is play really well and go up the ranks. My main ambition is to be in the first team by the end of the season.

“I was born in Aston. I have supported Villa all my life. Dean Smith was excited for me to come in.”

Barry, who turns 17 in June, can't become the club's youngest ever Premier League player as Rushian Hepburn-Murphy played as sub in a 4-0 victory at Sunderland in March 2015 aged 16 years 6 months 14 days.

But Barry could eclipse his namesake Gareth Barry who was Villa's previous youngest Premier League player at the age of 17 years 67 days and skipper Jack Grealish who made his debut aged 18.

Championship side Albion remain dismayed Barry left them last summer when he walked out for Barcelona after rejecting a contract.

Barry is hoping to break into Dean Smith's first team

The Baggies are still waiting for compensation from Spanish giants Barca for the England U17 international.

They are entitled to just a flat £235,000 compensation as Barry moved overseas.

The Baggies frustrations have been compounded by Barca making a quick profit this month.

Albion are considering legal action as their academy chief Mark Harrison handed in his notice at The Hawthorns shortly after Barry snubbed all their overtures and the pair have now linked up together at Villa.

Barry admitted: “I understand they’re quite fired up about it. But I loved West Brom as a club.

“I was there from the age of six to 15. I will always have love for them and will never say a bad word against them.

Barry in action for Barcelona

“I really enjoyed it at Barcelona. But I am coming back home and came to Aston Villa to work with Mark Harrison."

Barry has flown out to Marbella to take part in a three England U17 warm-up friendlies before Euro qualifiers in March after averaging more than a goal-a-game for the Three Lions.

He added: “I have scored 21 goals in 20 appearances for the under-15s, 16s and 17s. I want to play in the under-17s Euros in Estonia in May.”

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has hailed the arrival of Harrison and Barry as vital in the club's transformation under wealthy owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

Purslow said: “The appointment of Mark Harrison will oversee a complete rebuild of our academy.

“Louie is a player Mark knew well running the West Brom academy who almost uniquely had been signed by Barcelona but we found an opportunity to bring him back.

Barry's departure from West Brom was a controversial one

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“Louie's family are Villa through and through and I hope it is the first of many truly excellent players who come through from that system.”

Albion remain furious in a row similar to when Tottenham failed to sign Zeki Fryers from Manchester United in 2012 only for him to briefly move to Standard Liege in Belgium before signing for Spurs in January 2013.

Barry, who attended Bishop Walsh Catholic School, has been sought after since 2018 when he scored 10 goals in five games for England U15s in Italy.

He then won the golden boot at the Val-de-Marne tournament where England U16s were victorious.

A striker, who can also play out wide, Barry was prolific with England age groups despite also representing Ireland as he qualifies via his grandparents.