Sherwood explains why he gave Rushian Hepburn-Murphy his Aston Villa debut

The 16-year-old striker made a seven-minute cameo in Saturday's 4-0 win at Sunderland.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy’s prolific form for Aston Villa’s Under-18s is what earned the young hotshot his senior debut in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Sunderland, manager Tim Sherwood has told the club’s official website.

Hepburn-Murphy, 16, was named as a surprise substitute for the match at the Stadium of Light, before coming on in the 83rd-minute for Christian Benteke when the three points were all but sealed.

The rookie striker became the youngest Premier League player for Villa in the process - breaking the process record set by Gareth Barry, who made his claret and blue bow aged 17 years and 67 days on May 2 1998.

Sherwood admitted that the decision to bring Heburn-Murphy to the North East was somewhat forced upon him due to first-team injuries but also stressed that it was a well-deserved call-up for a prospect who looks to have a bright future at the club.

“We had a few young lads on the bench. We are down to the bare bones,” he said. "But he's done very well in the youth team.

"I think he's scored 18 goals in 21 games. He's a talent for the future of the football club. It will be expensive now if anyone wants to try and take him off us!

"It was a great moment for him to come on. I loved giving him the good news.

"It's credit to the boys that we were able to give him a run out and invaluable experience."

With Sherwood developing a reputation for putting faith in homegrown talent during his time at Tottenham Hotspur, last month’s arrival at Villa Park was hailed as fantastic news for the club’s fledging stars like Jack Grealish and Callum Robinson.

Few included Hepburn-Murphy in that equation, given that the trainee had made just one start in three appearances for the Under-21s prior to the weekend, but his shock run out is as clear an indication as ever that opportunities are there for all to seize under the new Villa boss.

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