Eric Black talks up Aston Villa youngster Rushian Hepburn-Murphy's potential

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The 17-year-old striker replaced Scott Sinclair for the closing stages of Saturday's 0-0 draw with Newcastle United at Villa Park.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy made his home debut for Aston Villa on Saturday as they drew 0-0 with Newcastle United in their penultimate game of the season to end a run of 11 straight defeats.

The 17-year-old striker became Villa’s youngest ever Premier League player last season when made a late substitute appearance in the 4-0 win at Sunderland, but he has seen his progress curtailed his term due to a fractured ankle.

Nevertheless, he recently made his comeback in the Under-21 side’s play-off semi-final at Swansea City, scoring a second-half spot-kick to help them secure a narrow 2-1 win, and he has since been making a positive impression on caretaker manager Eric Black in training.

Black promptly opted to reward the pacey front man with a brief cameo off the bench on Saturday afternoon at Villa Park and was quick to talk up his potential when speaking to the club’s official website after the match.

“Rushian has been injured for some time,” the Scot told “But I took him into training the other day and he just brought a brightness.

“He has got electric pace and a willingness to work hard. It was refreshing to have him training.

“Again, those that come up with the processes, if they catch your eye in training and they are good enough, you've got to give them an opportunity definitely.”

Hepburn-Murphy is now set to play in Tuesday night’s Under-21 Premier League Division 2 play-off final at Arsenal before he could make another appearance at the Emirates Stadium when the first-team face the Gunners on the weekend in their top-flight curtain closer.

The Aston-born youngster clearly has a bright future ahead of him, and with already-relegated Villa set to play Championship football next season, he could have the chance to make a much bigger impact on the senior setup from next August onwards.

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