Aston Villa rookie Jordan Lyden credits Kevin MacDonald for recent breakthrough

The 20-year-old Australian midfielder has played three times for the first-team since January after working with coach MacDonald over the first half of the season.

Aston Villa midfielder Jordan Lyden has hailed coach Kevin MacDonald’s guidance as a key factor in his recent first-team breakthrough.

Lyden, 20, received his first call-up to Villa’s senior squad in early December and went on to make his professional debut the following month as a late substitute in the 1-1 FA Cup third-round draw at Wycombe Wanderers.

The Australian utility man subsequently made his first start for the club in the replay at Villa Park – putting in a solid shift at right-back to help Remi Garde’s men beat the League Two side 2-0 – before earning his Premier League bow a few weeks later when he came off the bench for the final 24 minutes of the 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool.

His emergence on the scene comes after he impressed as skipper of the Under-21s over the first half of the season, and the Perth-born prospect believes that MacDonald’s involvement with the development squad this term has been crucial to helping him and others like Andre Green make the step up to the big time.

Speaking to Villa’s official website in an extensive interview, Lyden said: “This season I've worked hard with Kev. Since he came back there has been that pathway, as you can see with the likes of Andre Green, Keinan Davis and Niall Mason getting their chance.

"I've been pushed through the ranks here at Villa since the age of nine and with each step I've taken it in my stride.

"I was very happy to be made captain of the U21s. I feel I've got good leadership qualities and the way I play I feel like I'm a natural leader.

"I've stepped up and scored a couple of important goals and we're second in the league now."

MacDonald first joined Villa’s coaching staff in 1995 under Brian Little and went on to develop a sterling reputation for pushing talent through the ranks in a number of different positions.

The Scot left the club in June 2012 following Paul Lambert’s arrival but returned to B6 last season as Tim Sherwood’s assistant manager before moving back into a development role over the summer.

He has also had two spells as caretaker boss in 2010 and earlier this term following Tim Sherwood’s sacking, as well as a 14-game stint in charge of Swindon Town in 2013 after his initial departure from Villa Park.

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