Rushian Hepburn-Murphy backed for big future by Aston Villa teammate Jordan Lyden

The 17-year-old striker became Villa's youngest ever Premier League player in March 2015 when he came on in the 83rd minute of a 4-0 win at Sunderland.

Aston Villa youngster Rushian Hepburn-Murphy has a “big future ahead of him”, according to Under-21s captain Jordan Lyden.

Lyden was speaking to Villa’s official audioBoom channel following Monday night’s Under-21 Premier League Division 2 play-off semi-final at Swansea City, in which Hepburn-Murphy’s second-half penalty secured the Young Lions a hard-fought 2-1 win after Rory Hale’s 36th-minute opener had been cancelled out by Kenji Gorre.

It was only the 17-year-old striker’s first start for Kevin MacDonald’s side since December after recovering from a long-term ankle injury, but he proved a real handful in his 59-minute run-out with his pace and direct running.

Having already made his first-team debut for the club as a late substitute in last season’s 4-0 win at Sunderland, big things are expected of the Aston-born forward and Lyden believes he has all the attributes to make his mark on the senior squad before long.

"What we a feeling for Rushian,” said the 20-year-old midfielder. “To come back into the Under-21s setup after having a long-term injury – it’s brilliant for him. I’m sure he’ll push on. He’s been working hard with the physios to get back fit.

“He’s talented kid. He’s got a big future ahead of him, so I have no doubt he’ll push on and hopefully score some more in the final for us.”

Lyden also had high praise for Hale after the 19-year-old Northern Irishman continued his recent fine run of from with another excellent performance in midfield.

There have been growing calls for the Belfast native to be promoted to the first-team over recent weeks as Villa’s senior players continue to underperform, and his goal will have given caretaker manager Eric Black some food for thought ahead of the weekend’s trip to Watford.

"It was obviously great for Rory to get on the scoresheet,” Lyden added. “He’s done well over the last couple of weeks. He had a very good game and I’m buzzing for him.”

Monday night’s victory means Villa’s Under-21s will now play either Arsenal or Blackburn Rovers in the play-off final, with the date of the game still to be determined.

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