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St Mirren defender Ryan Strain opens up on coming through Aston Villa youth ranks with his brother and Man City star Jack Grealish

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Ryan Strain insists he’ll never take fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional footballer for granted.That’s because he’s seen the two different paths a teenage prospect’s career can take up close and very personal.Strain came through the Aston Villa youth ranks alongside his brother Tom, with both hoping to emulate their grandfather - St Mirren Scottish Cup winner Gerry Baker.Tom was regularly topping the scoring charts in Birmingham, with both Strain brothers also playing alongside future England and Manchester City star Jack Grealish.In the end Tom’s career was hit by a spate of injury problems, with Ryan eventually making it into the pro ranks after both moved over to Australia.Grealish, meanwhile, has gone on to break the British transfer record after swapping Villa Park for the Etihad Stadium in a deal reported to be worth £100million.Strain revealed the stark difference in the pathways the pair’s careers have taken so far highlights how lucky he is to be able to follow in his grandfather’s historic footsteps in Paisley.Strain explained: “I was at Villa for five years.

I did my scholarships there and then just before the pro-contract stage I got released.“My brother Tom and I were both there in the academy.

He was a year above me and played as a striker, he was top scorer for a bit there but had a lot of problems with injuries.“Now he’s playing locally in Australia, but he was probably the better player back then.“We were both on par but he was a great goalscorer.

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