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Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Wednesday, 8 September 2010 14:57 UK

Aston Villa's Marc Albrighton helped by Kevin MacDonald

Marc Albrighton
Albrighton slides in to score against Lithuania in Colchester

Aston Villa winger Marc Albrighton has paid tribute to the work done by caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald in his role as reserve team manager.

Albrighton, 20, scored his first goal for England Under-21s in Tuesday's 3-0 victory over Lithuania.

And the emerging talent feels the transition he has made to Villa's first team has been smoothed by MacDonald.

"I think he's really helped me out over the last two seasons with Villa reserves," Albrighton told the BBC.

"He's really given me confidence in my game and now, since he's been appointed caretaker manager, he's given me that chance in the first team. I'd like to think I've taken it."

The reserves over the last couple of years have been absolutely fantastic

Marc Albrighton

The Tamworth-born midfielder made his first team debut in a Uefa Cup tie against CSKA Moscow in February 2009, a game that saw then manager Martin O'Neill controversially leave the majority of his senior players at home.

But it has taken O'Neill's departure for Albrighton to become a Premier League regular, and he knows there are more youngsters ready to make the step up.

Already this season the likes of defenders Eric Lichaj and Ciaran Clark, midfielders Jonathan Hogg and Barry Bannan and striker Andreas Weimann have had a taste of first-team action.

"We've had lots of young players, the reserves over the last couple of years have been absolutely fantastic - we've got a great bunch of players.

"We know that if you put any of these young lads in they will do their job an they will hold their own. I think they've proved that."

Albrighton's goal for England helped secure a place in the European Under-21 Championship play-offs, with the real prospect of meeting Bannan's Scotland side after they went through with a 2-1 win over Austria.

"I heard he scored as well - he's a fantastic player. It'd be brilliant to play against him, but we'll take whoever comes our way."



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