Jed Steer has been waiting for his chance. The goalkeeper has been an eagle-eyed viewer for much of his young career as he looks to make his mark at Villa.
He has been patient, first behind John Ruddy at Norwich and now as No.2 to Brad Guzan. Loan spells at Yeovil and Cambridge gave him a taste of the action he craved and tonight he will make his second Villa start against Tottenham in the League Cup.
It will equal his appearance record in three years as a professional at the Canaries, after his claret and blue debut in the second-round win over Rotherham.
He kept a clean sheet in the 3-0 victory, something Villa finally achieved in the league at the 27th attempt in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Steer’s former club Norwich.
All of his games have come in the cup competitions since Paul Lambert handed him his Norwich debut against Albion in the FA Cup in 2012.
And, while he admits to pre-game nerves, Steer vowed not to blow his big moments as he looks to repay Lambert’s faith.
“I always get nervous, I always want to play well, so I did get nervous, especially as it was my debut,” said the 21-year-old. “The first time you touch the ball you settle in, if it’s a good touch. Your mind’s on the game so you always focus on the now.
“I had three great years under the manager at Norwich, really successful seasons, so it’s great to come here and work under him again. It was brilliant that he thought he’d chuck me in against Rotherham for my debut.
“He gave me my Norwich debut at West Brom in the FA Cup. He makes you feel like the best player in the world.
“You have so much confidence and that definitely helps because every player wants to play with confidence.
“It’s a great draw to be at home to Spurs. You always want to play the big teams. You’ve got to beat them to win it, so you might as well get them out the way early.”
Compensation for Steer is still to be agreed with Norwich – something Lambert expects to be resolved soon.
The Scot rates his young keeper highly having given him his first professional deal at Carrow Road in 2009-10. And Steer hopes to continue to make his mark under Lambert at Villa after a comfortable debut last month.
He said: “Just over 22,000 fans were there, it was absolutely wonderful. I didn’t have loads to do, but I really enjoyed it. It was great to play under the floodlights on my debut, that made a big difference.
“Walking out of the tunnel all the fans shouting, screaming, running out to that Holte End, I got a good reception there. They’re always shouting and screaming.
“It’s a great atmosphere.”
Libor Kozak, who scored the winner at Norwich, is set to replace Christian Benteke who is out with a hip injury suffered at Carrow Road. Gabby Agbonlahor (ankle) and Ashley Westwood (thigh) also miss out while Ciaran Clark, Fabian Delph and Antonio Luna are nursing knocks. Jores Okore (knee), Charles N’Zogbia (Achilles) and Gary Gardner (back) are long-term casualties.
Matt Lowton could be recalled after being dropped for the first time while Joe Bennett is in line to replace Luna.
Tottenham edged past Cardiff 1-0 on Sunday and Andre Villas-Boas will rotate with Jermain Defoe and record £30m signing Erik Lamela primed to start.
Lamela made Spurs’ winner in Wales and Villas-Boas says he is ready to unleash the ex-Roma forward. “He is selected for the game and a player of his quality will threaten to be in the team very soon,” he said.