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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Star on the rise: Dunne tips Stevens for Villa first team

“He’s a typical Irish player – he gives it absolutely everything, 100% and he never shirks a challenge.”

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

RICHARD DUNNE HAS tipped Enda Stevens to follow in James McClean’s footsteps and become the League of Ireland’s newest cross-channel poster boy.

McClean has played himself into contention for a place at Euro 2012 with an excellent run of form under Martin O’Neill at Sunderland, and Dunne believes that it’s only a matter of time before Stevens is knocking on the door of the Aston Villa first team.

Stevens, 21, agreed a three-year deal with Villa last August after catching manager Alex McLeish’s eye with his performances for Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League.

The left-full moved to Birmingham at the end of Rovers’ European adventure, and was thrust straight into first-team training alongside the familiar faces of Dunne, Shay Given, Ciaran Clark and Stephen Ireland.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Dunne said that the young Dub has certainly got the right attitude and work ethic to nail down a place in McLeish’s plans for the future.

“Enda has been really good since he’s come in. I have been impressed,” Dunne said.

“It obviously takes time for a lad coming from a lower division in Ireland into the highly-competitive Barclays Premier League. Once he gets up to pace with everything, he’ll be some player.

He’s quiet, hard-working and very respectful. I suppose he’s a typical Irish player – he gives it absolutely everything, 100% and he never shirks a challenge.

He obviously wants to get into the first team – that’s his aim – and the way he’s been training and applying himself, he’s on the right road.

Dunne is still recovering from a broken collarbone which has disrupted his own preparation for the summer’s European Championships, but the big centre-half could resume light training within the next month.

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Niall Kelly

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