PLYMOUTH Argyle have signed Kaine Kesler-Hayden on a season-long loan.
The 20-year-old joins the Pilgrims for the season from Aston Villa, and becomes the second acquisition of the summer, following the signing of Julio Pleguezuelo.
Kesler-Hayden is a wing-back who plays primarily on the right, who spent the first half of last season on loan at Huddersfield Town, for whom he played 14 times in the Sky Bet Championship last season.
Born in Birmingham, Kesler-Hayden has progressed through Aston Villa’s youth system. At 17, he was an unused substitute for a Premier League fixture against Everton, and went on to make his debut in unusual circumstances, in the Emirates FA Cup in January 2021.
The Villans’ first-team squad were forced to isolate because of COVID restrictions, so Kesler-Hayden was one of 16 debutants to play against Liverpool, with the Villa side made up entirely of youth and development players. A Liverpool side, containing the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson, won the game 4-1.
At the end of that season, Kesler-Hayden again faced Liverpool, but this time the game was an FA Youth Cup final, with Kesler-Hayden the Villa captain. Villa won 2-1, and Kesler-Hayden lifted the trophy, Villa’s first success in the competition for 20 years.
For the 2021-22 season, Kesler-Hayden headed to Swindon Town on loan, in League Two. He played 21 times for the Robins and, although he was recalled in January of that season, he still won the Swindon Young Player of the Season award.
Upon recall, Villa quickly sent him out on loan again, this time to League One, with Milton Keynes Dons. Kesler-Hayden played 17 times for MK, as they finished third in the table and lost out in the play-offs.
For last season, he continued his rise through the divisions, and got valuable Championship experience with Huddersfield. He has also played for England Under-20s five times.
Argyle manager Steven Schumacher said: “I’m very pleased that Kaine has agreed to join us for the season. He has excellent pedigree, and great experience for his young age, including in the Championship. He will give us energy and versatility – I am really looking forward to working with him.”
Director of Football Neil Dewsnip added: “I am delighted that Kaine is coming on board at Argyle for the season. He is a player we are excited to recruit.
“Kaine fits the profile of similar loan players who we have brought to the club previously, and who have performed superbly in a green shirt. I am sure that Kaine will follow suit.”
The deal is subject to EFL approval.