Ebby Nelson-Addy hopes to boss the midfield ground like his hero Michael Essien when Villa face Middlesbrough in the FA Youth Cup this weekend.
Nelson-Addy, who parents are from Ghana, rates central star Essien as the player he looks up to most in the top-flight.
And, if handed a start in the Villa Park quarter-final, he’d love to dominate proceedings and break up play like Chelsea’s established international ace.
He told AVTV: “I think I am best at breaking up play and running with the ball. My idol is Michael Essien and he obviously does that a lot.
“He is a big, strong midfielder and gets up and down the pitch – box to box – that’s what I try to do and I certainly try to model myself on him.
“He’s from Ghana and my parents are from Ghana too – so that’s a big thing. They should have got to the semi-finals in the World Cup! I was really proud of them. They were flying the flag for Africa.”
Nelson-Addy, who was on the periphery of things last time out as Villa reached the final of the FA Youth Cup against Chelsea, is hoping to go one better this time out, in a competition he rates as “special.”
He added: “The lads did really well against Leeds in the last round because that was a tough tie.
“We’ve had three away games so far in the competition so it’s good to be back at home for this one.
“Hopefully we can push on now and get into the semis. Getting to the final last season was fantastic and hopefully that will spur us on as we look to do the same this time.
“It’s the biggest competition for a young player – and it’s great experience to perform in front of so many people. All the lads are looking forward to the tie.
“We just want to perform on the day and get through. It is a special atmosphere in the competition.
“There’s a nervousness but also an excitement for the lads.”