Cowans: I'm proud of debutant Williams because he gives everything
Derrick Williams richly deserved his senior debut because he "gives everything in whatever he does".
That's the verdict of Villa U21 coach and European Cup winner Gordon Cowans, who has seen the Republic of Ireland U19 defender progress through the ranks at Bodymoor Heath.
Williams became the latest product of Villa's acclaimed academy to make his first team bow when he replaced Chris Herd in the second half during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Queens Park Rangers.
And Cowans was delighted to see the 19-year-old get his big chance because of the example he sets to other youngsters at the club.
"It is a good example for the others and I am delighted for Derrick," said Cowans.
"He is one of those lads who comes in and gives everything in whatever he does.
"Whether he is in the gym or on the pitch he does everything properly and he deserved the opportunity.
"Some of these lads will be looking at him and thinking 'it could be me next' - and it could be.
"He has got his feet firmly on the ground and he works hard.
"To make your debut for your side is fantastic and from there you want to move onwards and upwards and play more games."
While Williams was recovering from his first taste of Barclays Premier League action, his U21 colleagues were busy collecting a hard-fought three points at Newcastle.
Cowans was pleased with the way his side applied themselves in testing conditions.
"The pitch was perhaps a bit crispy and the ball was bobbling a bit under foot but they adapted really well and got on with it," the Villa coach added.
"It was a great first goal and typical of Mikey and what he is capable of.
"Burkey finished his penalty off well. It was another good pass from DJ in the lead up to it and Burkey did what he is good at - rounding the defender and then he was brought down.
"I was pleased for Samir because he set the standard early on, closing people down and trying to drive the other players on.
"It was important to get the win in the position we are in because we want to try and finish top of the group and we need to win these next two games to do that.
"They are two great games to finish with against Manchester United and Tottenham."
Snap up your tickets and back the boys against Stoke.