It will be weeks before Tom Heaton is able to properly challenge Emiliano Martinez for the Aston Villa number one shirt.

That is according to former Tottenham midfielder Michael Brown, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Russell Edge about the fit-again 34-year-old.

The three-times England international made his return to action on Monday, playing 63 minutes for Villa Under-23s in their 2-2 draw against Burnley.

Heaton has not played for the Villa first team since New Year’s Day after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a Premier League match.

Asked if Heaton’s return to action was a big boost for Dean Smith, Brown told Football Insider: “I think it will, you want that all around the pitch, that bit of experience, that bit of competition, but it’ll take him a few weeks to come back properly.

“It’s a long process for him to get back and be playing. He was missed last season. He’s a good goalkeeper, isn’t he, Tom Heaton?

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“He’s got experience so I think over time he’ll just get sharper, get ready from his injury and then just wait for his chance. He won’t go straight into the team with Martinez playing well.”

Martinez joined from Arsenal for £17m rising to a potential £20m in September and has made an instant impression at Villa Park after slotting straight into the starting XI.

The Argentine has started all seven of Villa’s Premier League fixtures this season and kept four clean sheets.

In other news, Aston Villa beaten to £20m+ signing by Newcastle United to leave ex-star gutted.