Isaiah Osbourne began Saturday by looking forward to a feast of nuggets and ended it by basking in the satisfaction of making his Aston Villa debut.

Now the young midfield player can delight in being part of the Villa squad for the League Cup third-round tie away to Leicester City tonight.

Whatever happens, Osbourne has taken a tiny step closer towards emulating his hero, Patrick Vieira, and become Villa's equivalent.

Aged 18, Osbourne emerged as a second-half substitute for Villa against Fulham. He produced a display of confidence and, inevitably, he relished the experience.

"It was great to get on the pitch to make my debut at 18," Osbourne said. "My friends and neighbours were at the game but I think my dad was watching on TV.

"When Martin O'Neill [Villa manager] announced the subs, I didn't realise he had mentioned me at first and I had to ask somebody else and they told me.

"To be honest, I turned up on Saturday expecting to watch the game and to get some nuggets and chips. But I wasn't nervous once I got out on to the pitch. I have played with the players in training and they helped me.

"I had hoped to have been more involved last season, but that chance didn't come. Now I am looking to show the gaffer what I can do.

"It's taken a while for me to make an impression, but I'm glad to have done so at last. I want to be top of the tops and be the next Patrick Vieira. I want to be the next Vieira for Aston Villa. He is a legend. Hopefully, I can get there very soon."

O'Neill had no reservations about promoting Osbourne to the first-team squad. "Isaiah has done very well indeed," O'Neill said. "His hero is Patrick Vieira; not a bad one to aspire to.

"I like him. He's really decent. He's learning his trade here and he is a good lad too. His whole approach to the game is refreshing. He's got good natural ability, which is encouraging.

"It is very early for him, but just keep an eye out for him. I think he can do a bit. Hopefully, they are not famous last words and over the course of the next couple of seasons, I think there could be a player there."

Rob Kelly, the Leicester manager, has assured O'Neill that the Villa manager will be given a rousing reception by the home supporters tonight.

O'Neill carved out his managerial reputation with the Foxes between 1995 and 2000, steering them to two League Cup triumphs and four successive top-ten finishes in the Premiership before moving to Celtic.

O'Neill believes a new generation of Leicester fans may not even remember his achievements but Kelly, a lifelong Villa fan, thinks otherwise.

"Martin O'Neill is much revered in Leicester and always will be," Kelly said. "He will get a very warm welcome from the fans when he walks out at the Walkers Stadium.

"The fans at Leicester City will always be grateful to him for what he did for this football club. They had some fantastic times under him. He did a phenomenal job and will always be remembered for that."

Kelly could have worked alongside O'Neill at Leicester as head of the Academy but opted to stay in a similar role with Blackburn Rovers because of rumours about him moving north to work at Celtic.

Kelly, who watched his first Villa game at the age of six in the old Third Division, is keen to give Villa a tougher fight than when they last visited the Walkers Stadium two-and-a-half years ago.

On that occasion, Villa won 5-0 in the season when Leicester were relegated from the top flight, with Peter Crouch scoring twice before being dropped for the next game by David O'Leary.

O'Neill will make a late fitness check on Gavin McCann, the midfield player, before deciding whether to recall him.

Milan Baros, whose form since coming back into the team has been patchy, to say the least, is likely to be given another chance to regain his form and sharpness.