Who is Aston Villa’s latest Premier League debutant and potential star of the future?

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The midfielder has been praised by Steven Gerrard after making his top flight bow

“He’s deserved that since the day I came in.”

That was the verdict of Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard after handing teenage midfielder Tim Iroegbunam his Premier League debut at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

Gerrard was full of admiration for Iroegbunam after the youngster’s cameo against the Seagulls.

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Iroegbunam replaced Philippe Coutinho after 86 minutes at the Amex Stadium and helped Villa see out a deserved 2-0 victory which lifted them into 12th place.

The elated 19-year-old said on Instagram: “Blessed to make my Premier League debut for this great club.

“Thanks to the gaffer for believing in me. Fans were amazing as usual!”

Tim Iroegbunam embraces with keeper Emi Martinez after victory on Saturday. Picture:  Henry Browne/Getty Images.Tim Iroegbunam embraces with keeper Emi Martinez after victory on Saturday. Picture:  Henry Browne/Getty Images.
Tim Iroegbunam embraces with keeper Emi Martinez after victory on Saturday. Picture: Henry Browne/Getty Images.

What does Steven Gerrard make of the Birmingham-born teenager?

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Gerrard is in no doubt that the Great Barr-born player – who prefers to operate in central midfield - is the latest in an impressive list of young Villa talent to have a Premier League future in front of him.

He said: “He’s deserved that since the day I came in. He joined the first team and obviously stood out.

“He’s got a fantastic profile for a number six. He’s a long project for us to work at.

“He’s still very raw but he’s got a lot of attributes that we like.

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“Tim has got to work on his game. I went to watch him for the under 23s in the week and he started a little bit slowly and got sent off at the end, but in the middle bit of the game he was outstanding and looked like a Premier League player.”

Brazilian star Coutinho has also been impressed by what he has seen in training and said of his replacement: “Congrats bro, well played.”

What’s Iroegbunam’s football career path so far?

Iroegbunam has been an unused substitute in nine Premier League encounters prior to Saturday, but has featured in four EFL Trophy matches and 14 Premier League 2 games.

He joined the Villa Park academy from neighbours West Bromwich Albion in July 21 having been with the Baggies since joining their under eights team.

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Iroegbunam, who signed for Villa in an undisclosed deal, has attended England age group training camps.

Just prior to leaving West Brom, he was an unused substitute for Albion’s Premier League encounter against Leeds United.

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