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9th Jan, 2017 | 7:40am

Bruce delivers verdict on 23-year-old Aston Villa ace v Tottenham

By Emma Sanders

Steve Bruce has praised Sam Johnstone for his “excellent” debut performance despite his side suffering a 2-0 loss against Tottenham in the third round of the FA Cup.

Johnstone made his bow at White Hart Lane but despite an impressive performance, he was unable to keep out two second-half goals from Ben Davies and Son Heung-Min.

Bruce believes the young keeper made a fantastic start to life at Villa Park and he has tipped Johnstone to become a star during his loan spell with the club.

“It was an excellent debut. We’re delighted we’ve got him. He’s got all the attributes to be a very good young goalkeeper,” said Bruce, as reported by the Birmingham Mail.

“You just have to see, he’s got a big physical presence, kicks it well. He needs to come and play and he’s looking forward to the challenge. But he certainly played his part [against Tottenham.]”

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Johnstone made a number of good saves as his side held on for over 70 minutes against Tottenham during a close encounter at White Hart Lane.

Aston Villa agreed a deal with Manchester United to bring Johnstone in on a loan deal until the end of the season and he is expected to remain as Bruce’s number one for their Championship fixture against Wolves.

He was United’s number three this season but Jose Mourinho is keen for him to gain regular first-team action and after his display against Spurs, it’s likely Bruce will offer him that.

The 23-year-old has not made a single appearance for United but he could feature heavily in the English second flight as Bruce’s team search for a play-off position.

In other Aston Villa news, fans react to Johnstone’s debut on Twitter.