Luke Moore knows that he's still got a long, long way to go to establish himself at football's highest level.

The teenage Aston Villa striker is, after all, only 19 years old and has a mere two Premiership goals to his name.

But the fact that the second of them came at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, earning him extra fame as the first player to score against Chelsea this season, is not a bad way of making a name for yourself.

Villa manager David O'Leary made no secret of wishing he had been able to use his first-choice front-line pair, Milan Baros and Kevin Phillips, at Chelsea but he was very pleased with Moore. He has been quick to point out how the Birminghamborn England Under- 19 player is a part of his longterm plans.

"I'm delighted for him," O'Leary said. "I hope he comes back the better for this as, make no mistake about it, I need him.

"He's got a little bit of an edge on him. He's not a coward. John Terry's not going to see this lad and say 'I'm going to dig him out, and then he'll go away'.

"Luke Moore's the sort of player who won't go away. He'll come back.

"He's a quiet boy but I hope [Saturday's goal] gives him more belief in himself."

Following the summer signings of Baros and Phillips, O'Leary had privately been hoping that their arrival might have kick-started Juan Pablo Angel back into life.

While the Colombian looks an increasingly peripheral figure, having rarely threatened to break his season's goal-scoring duck, O'Leary may instead see the sort of beneficial spin-off he was looking for in Moore.

It was only this summer that Villa finally gave up on Moore's elder brother Stefan, who turns 22 today, by allowing him to go to Queens Park Rangers.

But O'Leary still has a role for Luke - younger than Stefan by two-and-a-half years - who played alongside his brother as a 16-year-old striker when Villa won the FA Youth Cup in 2002.

"It might have been only his first goal of the season but I hope there's more there and there will be too, if he learns," O'Leary said.

"He's got a lot to do still but he wants to learn. He's not afraid of constructive criticism.

"A lot of younger players, you give them criticism and a few take it personally. You try to improve the ones that want to learn. Luke Moore can take it, which will make him a better player."

O'Leary had two other members of that FA Youth Cup-winnning side who also showed up well at Chelsea.

Midfielder Steven Davis has been the first of the crop to truly establish himself as a first-team fixture at Villa Park but 21-year-old Liam Ridgewell has also had to grow up quickly this season, since Martin Laursen got injured.

Now that Laursen's problem has been diagnosed as a serious long-term problem, ruling him out for the entire season, O'Leary has had to turn to Ridgewell and 19-year-old Gary Cahill.

Although the manager has been told he has the funds available to bring in a new centre-half in the January transfer window, he has three months of football to oversee before that.

He still has the central defensive fallback of using two more summer signings, Wilfred Bouma and Aaron Hughes, not to mention fitagain Mark Delaney but, when he was not prepared to risk a long-term injury by playing hamstring-injury victim Olof Mellberg at Wycombe a week ago, it was important for him to blood Cahill alongside Ridgewell.

He said: "You've got to give Cahill experience and while I know by doing that you can make yourself a little vulnerable, I had to put him in.

"That's where you learn about players. It makes him that much more prepared, in case I were to lose Mellberg and I had nobody else.

"You can see it already with Ridgewell on Saturday. You've got to defend well at places like Chelsea and Liam did that very well for us." Luke Moore is part of David O'Leary's long-term plans