"To be recognised by England is a big thing for me. I was surprised at the phone call this morning," he said. "I was on my way into training and was told it was Steve McClaren. I thought it was someone winding me up.
"Once he had finished talking, I was a bit taken aback. I had to ring the family and let everyone know. I think that they were even more excited than I was.
"These matches are qualifiers and to get a first call-up for these sort of games is a big thing. I'm really happy inside and excited although I might not be showing it to you.
"I will just look upon it as a great chance to be involved with the squad. Anything else will be a bonus. All I've got to try and do is what got me in the England set-up and then we will see what happens.
"I am enjoying my football, I am full of confidence and Martin O'Neill has put a lot of confidence in me. I can't wait for the games to come up with England."
Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "I'm delighted for Ashley. He has impressed sufficiently for Steve McClaren to put him in his squad and he is ecstatic about it.
"He is playing with a great deal of confidence and has been for some considerable time. He was really on his game at the back-end of last season and carried it on with the under-21s.
"He didn't have much of a break in the summer but he is buoyant at the moment and this call-up is a measure of the progress he is making.
"Ashley will be the first to say he has a long way to go but we know what he is capable of doing."