Chris Herd has won plaudits from Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish for his performances so far this season.

The 22-year old Australian midfielder is beginning to slot into Eck's plans at Villa Park and the Scottish tactician is delighted with the way he has gone about it in recent weeks, especially with the role he is playing alongside captain Stiliyan Petrov.

"Chris's introduction has been very good for us," McLeish told Express & Star.

"He gives Stiliyan a bit more freedom to get forward. That is really Stiliyan's game - he's a forward-thinking midfielder."

Herd last week received his first senior Australia call-up but had to withdraw from the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Thailand and Oman after injuring his ankle in Villa's 3-2 win over Norwich City on Saturday.