The on-loan Tottenham midfielder was handed a second-half cameo by McLeish.
He told Villa's website: "It was great to see Jermaine in action. I was delighted to see him out there. We saw his experience and composure when he came on.
"I said to him 'make sure your first touch is a good one' and you could see the composure of the boy.
"He slowed the tempo too. We had great tempo but sometimes there are moments when you have to slow it and show composure and I could see that with Jermaine.
"He has still got a bit to go in terms of sharpness but that will have done his confidence a world of good.
"He now has to find overall fitness to take that next step. He has great control, he sees a pass, he has vision and he's athletic.
"When he gets to top fitness, he will be an asset for Villa, no doubt."