Jordan Lyden raves about Aston Villa teammate Rushian Hepburn-Murphy

The 17-year-old striker made his second first-team appearance for the club in last Saturday's 0-0 draw with Newcastle United.

Aston Villa midfielder Jordan Lyden has hailed fellow youngster Rushian Hepburn-Murphy’s attitude and potential after seeing him break back into the first-team picture following a spell on the sidelines.

Lyden was speaking to Villa’s official website following Tuesday night’s Under-21 Premier League Division Two play-off final at Arsenal, in which Hepburn-Murphy scored the opening goal in a 3-1 defeat for Kevin MacDonald’s side.

The 17-year-old striker became the club’s youngest ever Premier League player in March 2015 when made a late substitute appearance in last season’s 4-0 win at Sunderland, but he has endured a frustrating 2015-16 campaign due to injuries.

Nevertheless, the pacey academy graduate is now back fully fit, and after impressing caretaker manager Eric Black in training, he was rewarded with his second senior appearance last weekend when he replaced Scott Sinclair for the final minutes of the 0-0 home draw with Newcastle United.

Black was quick to talk up the Aston-born forward’s potential after the match, and his Under-21s captain also sees him making a big impact at Villa Park in the near future.

“Rushian has massive potential,” Lyden told "Unfortunately, at the start of the season he picked up a bad injury. But it hasn't stopped him - it hasn't stopped his drive one bit. He has worked very hard with the physios to get back fit.

"He has a really great attitude. His work rate for the team is just unbelievable.

“He has had a few training sessions with the first team since coming back from injury and he came on against Newcastle - so it's all positive for him now. He has a very bright future.”

On Hepburn-Murphy’s main strengths as a player, Lyden added: "He is strong and powerful. Being out this season, he's definitely bulked up in his time away from the pitch.

"His hold up play is very good. His touch is very good too. He is very clinical in front of goal. Just give him a sniff of a chance and he will score."

Whether Hepburn-Murphy will be ready to play a key role alongside Lyden in Villa’s bid to return the Premier League next season remains to be seen at this point, but as long as he can keep off the treatment table, he remains a big reason for fans to be optimistic about the future.

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