Paul Robinson has heaped praise on his former teammate Tom Heaton after the Aston Villa goalkeeper made his long-awaited return from injury yesterday.

The former England number one, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, hailed the 34-year-old’s resilience to bounce back from a “really hard injury” last season.

Heaton has not played since New Year’s Day after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a 2-1 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor.

The 3-time England international made his return to action on Monday, playing 63 minutes of a 2-2 draw against Burnley for the club’s under-23s.

Robinson revealed that Heaton, who he played with at Burnley, has all it takes to get back to his best.

“It has been a really long time for Tom and a really hard injury for him to recover from,” he told Football Insider.

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“I know Tom very well and if anybody has the determination and the desire to live correctly off the field, train right and cope mentally it is Tom. He is a credit to himself and a credit to his profession.

“I hope we see him back playing in the first team sooner rather than later.” 

The Villans bolstered their options between the sticks with the £20million addition of Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal in September.

The Spanish shot-stopper, who penned a four-year contract at Villa Park, has kept four clean sheets in his seven Premier League appearances to date this season.

In other Aston Villa news, Gabriel Agbonlahor names two never-seen teens as future first team stars.