The Aston Villa squad will be “overjoyed” at seeing manager Dean Smith pen a new long-term deal at the club, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider editor Russell Edge, says that the 48-year-old and the Villans are a “match made in heaven”.

Villa confirmed on Friday that the former Brentford boss had put pen to paper on a new four-year deal, just over a year since first taking to the dugout at Villa Park.

With the Midlands club sitting 15th in the Premier League table after promotion via the play-offs, Whelan says things are looking rosy under Smith.

Whelan told Football Insider: “There’s only very few managers out there, like Chris Wilder, who I think have done a fantastic job. He deserves it, he’s done a great job since he’s gone into Aston Villa, it wasn’t an easy club to take over.

“There was a lot of pressure there to take the role from Bruce and you just look at the way he goes about his business. I admire him loads, I love his style of play, I think he’s one of these managers that players love to play for.

“He seems very fair but also seems very straight to the point. He’s got Villa in his heart and it’s one of these, a match made in heaven. Aston Villa are probably playing some of the best football they have in a while.

“I’m pretty sure that the players there are overjoyed, knowing that whatever contract they’ve signed, he’s going to be there as well.”

Smith has taken charge of 54 games during his time in the Villa dugout, winning 27, drawing 12 and losing 15.

His side’s next outing sees them take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton has suggested that Smith could hand a rarely-seen player a surprise run-out soon.