Osbourne in contract talks

Last updated : 31 October 2006 By Chuck Horace

The 19-year-old former England Under-16s international, who has earned comparisons with his hero Patrick Vieira, made his debut as a substitute in the 1-1 draw against Fulham and started Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Liverpool. He was also in the starting XI in Villa's 3-2 Carling Cup win over Leicester at the Walkers Stadium last week and said: "I'm very excited with the way things are going. It's taken me a while to get here because I actually thought I might have made the breakthrough last season."

Obviously, with David O'Leary in charge that was never going to happen but O'Neill has given him a chance in Gavin McCann's absence and believes he has great potential. "What a week it's been for him. He hadn't an ounce of energy left in his body at Leicester but he didn't do too bad at Liverpool considering what he was up against and can only get better," the 54-year-old said, and revealed he had started making enquiries about securing Osbourne's long-term future. "I have been making in-roads with his agent who has spoken very positively about Isaiah wanting to stay. And why shouldn't he when he can see, like the other young lads can see, that they will be given their chance?"