O'Neill hails Delfouneso
Martin O'Neill has hailed highly promising striker Nathan Delfouneso, who scored on his full debut.
Last Updated: 05/12/08 9:33am
Martin O'Neill praised teenage striker Nathan Delfouneso after he scored on his full debut for Aston Villa, believing he is a contender to play in the Premier League.
The 17-year-old announced his presence on the big stage with a fantastic volley from the edge of the box in Villa's 2-1 defeat to MSK Zilina in the Uefa Cup on Thursday.
He was also not afraid to tell his team-mates what he thought during the game, showing a confidence which belied his years.
O'Neill says he is not surprised with how the youngster handled himself, adding he is 'knocking on the door' of playing in the Premier League.
He said: "I thought Nathan played brilliantly for us in the game. What a debut that was.
"Is he a contender for the Premier League now? It will be an interesting few months ahead because he has got great ability and I don't want to put an awful lot of pressure on him.
"It is hard to say immediately that he is a Premier League contender but I think he is knocking on the door.
"I didn't tell him he was playing until I announced the team. I said to him there was a possibility he might start but don't bet on it.
"It was one of those selections where you don't want him to be vomiting overnight with the thought of it.
"But I knew his reaction would be fine. I am not surprised about how he handled it."