Lyden eyes Premier League start

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Australian Jordan Lyden says he was over the moon to make his English Premier League debut against Liverpool and is now targeting a first-team start for Aston Villa.

The defensive midfielder from WA came on in the 66th minute, replacing Leandro Bacuna, in the 6-0 loss to Liverpool last month.

“To come on against Liverpool was just a dream come true,” Lyden told the Aston Villa website.

“Obviously the result was very disappointing, but even just to step onto the Villa Park pitch for the first time in the Premier League – even for 30 minutes – I was over the moon with it.

“But I need to keep working and hopefully I can improve and get a start in the first-team in the weeks to come.”

Lyden earned his inaugural first-team appearance for Villa off the bench in an FA Cup tie against Wycombe Wanderers in December, after being promoted to the club’s senior squad by Remi Garde.

He made his first start at right back in the replay against the Wanderers at Villa Park.

”I’ve been over the moon obviously to even be called up to the first-team for training, it was a massive achievement for myself,” Lyden said.

“And I’ve just kicked on from there. I’ve continued to work hard. Kev [MacDonald, development coach] has constantly been on my back which has been good. Now obviously I’m part of the first-team squad and hopefully I can get some more minutes under my belt.

“To be called up to the 18-man matchday squad against Arsenal, I was just over the moon with it. Then the nerves starting to kick in and I had to do my initiation song at the hotel, Let me love you by Mario.

“The night we stayed in the hotel it started to kick in gradually and then travelling to the game I was thinking about like coming in and maybe scoring the winner, I was just imagining things.

“So I had all things going through my head which was different, because I’ve never experienced that before. And then once I got to the ground it was just another thing. To hear the fans roar once we walked out was just amazing.”

Lyden has followed the same path to Aston Villa as fellow Aussies Chris Herd and Shane Lowry, joining the Premier club from WA side ECU Joondalup in 2012. The midfielder has played for the Young Socceroos twice.

He has impressed for Villa’s Under-21s side, which he captains, and earned a spot in the club’s first-team ranks.

Lyden has paid tribute to the impact coach MacDonald has had on his his career.

“Since Kev’s come back, though, I have felt there’s been more of a pathway into the first-team,” he said.

“Not only for myself, but you see the likes of Keinan Davies, Andre Green, Niall Mason and players like that coming through, and there are plenty more in the academy and Under-21s who are very capable of coming into the first-team.”

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