Aussie Lyden calm despite breakthrough at Aston Villa

Young gun Jordan Lyden is taking nothing for granted, but believes he is closer than ever to first team recognition at Aston Villa after winning rave reviews for his starting debut in the FA Cup victory over Wycombe Wanderers.

Jordan Lyden

Source: Supplied

The 19 year-old from Perth, a steely midfielder by trade, was deployed as an emergency right back in the absence of the injured Alan Hutton and Leandro Bacuna against the League One side in midweek, and is heavily in contention for another appearance as the Premier League’s bottom club face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Sunday morning (AEDT).

Lyden, who came off the bench in the 1-1 draw at Wycombe earlier this month, played a handful of matches at right-back for Villa's Under-18s two years back - but didn't expect to again.

“I was over the moon when I saw the team sheet before the game … it's a dream come true. I couldn’t believe it,” reflected the club's Under-21’s skipper on a significant milestone in his burgeoning career.

“I obviously hadn’t played that position for a while, but just to get that chance was the main thing.

"I felt I had a good game and the feedback has been good too. I am quite a versatile player and that’s helped me find a way into the first team ... it’s great that the gaffer felt he could trust me by throwing me in the deep end.

“He talked to me about possibly playing right back a few weeks ago. I am just happy to be in and around the first team.”

With Villa 11 points from safety at the wrong end of the table, Lyden’s emergence is offering a shaft of sunlight for fans eager to see Garde give gifted youngsters a chance.

“He seems to have taken a liking to me, and probably that’s down to my attitude,” he added.

“I’ve always been quite grounded and give 110 per cent in training … I train the way I play and I am always at it, whether it's a kick around in the park or a competitive match. That’s just my mentality."

With Villa unbeaten in four games, Lyden hasn’t given up hope of a great escape from side odds on to go down.

“The spirit and togetherness is there in the team and that’s what we need at a time like this. A lot of people are against us, but we keep believing and will continue to do so until it’s mathematically impossible (to stay up). I personally feel we can survive.”

Villa face Manchester City in the next round at home at the end of January and Lyden contends that last year’s beaten finalists are capable of upsetting Manuel Pellegrini’s pedigree outfit.

“Last season, in reaching the final, that probably helped us in the league also and gave us the momentum we needed," he said.

“Obviously that will be a huge test for all of us, whether I am involved or not, I will always be there supporting the team.”

With one dream, fulfilled Lyden has another to chase: playing for the Socceroos’ at some stage.

“Australia is where I was born and it’s my home and hopefully a chance will come for me if I keep going the way I am, “he added.

“I don’t think I looked out of place the other night, and I have been in and around the first team for a couple of months now and the lads have all welcomed me in.

"That’s been a massive help to me as a young player coming through.

“Before my debut, they all said I was there on merit and deserved my chance and then they said how well I did in helping us keep a clean sheet in such an important game.

“I’d love to say involved now. The boss has been very supportive of me, speaks to me regularly about what I need to work on and what he likes about me, and that’s been a huge help.”

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4 min read
Published 23 January 2016 at 8:50am
By Dave Lewis