Villa's Aussie Lyden relishing taste of big time

EXCLUSIVE: Australian starlet Jordan Lyden was “speechless” after being named in the Aston Villa's squad for the loss to Arsenal, but tongues are wagging over what the future might hold for the teenager.

Lyden

Source: Supplied

Lyden, 19, spent the afternoon warming up on the touchline as Villa’s nightmare season continued - they went down 2-0 to the Gunners.

While Villa are on a low, the midfielder was still buzzing 24 hours later as he savoured the experience of being involved with the first team for the first time.

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All indications are that Lyden, who skippers Villa’s under-21s, will be named in the top squad again for Sunday’s trip to fellow strugglers Newcastle United at St James Park.

Lyden was a part of the same Perth-based ECU Joondalup academy which spawned the likes of Rhys Williams, Chris Herd and Brad Jones.

"It’s a waiting game now again but I am in the right place and that’s the main thing," Lyden said.

“I was raring to go and get on. It’s just good the boss has taken a liking to me.

“I got called in for first team on Tuesday, and trained all week with them but I didn’t expect anything because there were still 20 players fit.

“There seemed no hope of me making the squad, then come Saturday morning we trained and then they put the sheet up for the Arsenal game and my name was on it.

"I was over the moon, I was actually speechless. I was like ‘wow’, especially against a team like Arsenal. It was a dream come true.

“I was warming up for quite a while in the second half and if an injury had come along then who knows?"

Lyden’s parents, Kevin and Donna, fly in from Perth on Friday. They may have to amend their travel itinerary to take in a trip to Tyneside for the Newcastle clash if, as expected, Lyden wins another call from coach Remi Garde.

Coincidentally, the Frenchman was Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger's first ever signing back in 1996.

"I saw a young player, very committed. He is bringing his energy into the training sessions and I like that," Garde said.

Lyden has been on Villa's books since the age of 12, and Grade called him into the first team after a standout display for the under-21s in last Monday's 2-1 win over Derby.

“It was all I’ve worked for so many years and it has paid off. It means so much to me and my family," Lyden said.

"It's quite daunting for a young player coming in to the first team squad but they were really welcoming and I felt I fitted in really well and I don't feel out of place at all. It will be unbelievable if I make the squad again.
“I was there with first teamers Jack Grealish, Adama Traore and Libor Kozak, who scored both goals.

"I probably stood out in different way to them, they are flair players, but with a couple of chances I had and the discipline I showed, I think I did well.

"We were under pump in the last few minutes and as captain I had to get the boys going again."

Despite Villa's perilous predicament, six points adrift of second-last Sunderland at the foot of the table after 15 games without a win, Lyden, like his teammates, is believing in miracles.

“You have to believe, and we definitely have a squad good enough to get out of this situation,” he said.

“I have been here so long now, I have grown to love the club and we have a good strong group mentally and technically they are great players. I have no doubt that we have what it takes it survive.

“We are having no luck right now, and in football you need a bit of that to go along with ability and hard work.

“Football is all about momentum and when we get that first win, the confidence and belief will come flooding back, It’s a very psychological game. If we win one game, we’ll push on from there. I think that first win is coming.”


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4 min read
Published 15 December 2015 at 8:30am
By David Lewis