Kevin Toner gives Aston Villa what they need, says Jordan Lyden

The Irish defender has made three appearances for the club since being promoted to the first-team last month.

Speaking to AVTV, Aston Villa youngster Jordan Lyden has praised fellow rookie Kevin Toner for the way he has taken to top-flight football over recent weeks.

Toner, 19, has established himself as one of Villa’s top prospects since arriving from Irish outfit Home Farm in 2012 and was rewarded for his impressive Under-21 performances last month with a call-up to the senior squad.

The physical defender, who can play at centre-half or left-back, subsequently made his first-team debut as a half-time substitute in the 4-2 home defeat to Southampton and has since started the past two games against Watford and Newcastle United.

His displays in the narrow 3-2 loss at Vicarage Road and Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Villa Park earned some impressive reviews from fans and the media alike, and the Republic of Ireland Under-19 international is now expected to be an important part of the club’s plans for next season’s Championship campaign.

Lyden has certainly not been surprised to see his Under-21 teammate transition so seamlessly to the first-team setup and believes his commitment and desire will make him a huge asset to the claret and blues in the second tier.

“I’m really happy for Kev,” the 20-year-old midfielder told AVTV. “He’s done extremely well for the Under-21s and also had a loan spell with Kidderminster [earlier this season].

“I’m buzzing for him. He had a really good full debut against Watford, but even when he came on against Southampton he looked the part, so I’m over the moon for him.

“He’s got a very good attitude – a never-say-die attitude – and I think that’s what we need.

“Especially next year, we’re going to need fighters in the group. Ciaran Clark is another one who’s very similar. Kev’s a very committed player, which is I feel what’s needed. He’s always at it in training and always gives it his all.”

Lyden has also played his way into the Villa first-team this season after producing some eye-catching displays for the Under-21s, making five total appearances – including his first Premier League start in last month’s 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth.

The 20-year-old Australian has not featured in the club’s last five games, but he feels he is ready to play a key role in their promotion push next term under a new manager.

“Next season hopefully I can play a lot more,” Lyden told AVTV. “I feel I’m ready. I’ve got some minutes under my belt this season, which I’ve been very happy with.

“It’s been more than I expected really, but I’ve got to keep working hard and push on from there.”

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch