Villa boss gives 'great credit' to former Canaries keeper Steer for grabbing his chance ahead of play-off final
PUBLISHED: 10:21 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:21 24 May 2019
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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has praised the attitude of Jed Steer, ahead of the Norfolk-born goalkeeper's opportunity to join boyhood club Norwich City in the Premier League.
The former Reepham High School pupil came through the Canaries academy system and made his first-team debut at 19 years old - having represented England at U16, U17 and U19 levels - helping earn a 2-1 win at West Brom in the FA Cup fourth round in January 2012.
He also played in the next round, a 2-1 home loss to Leicester, and made nine League One appearances for Yeovil on loan that season but joined Paul Lambert at Aston Villa in 2013, having been overlooked totally by Chris Hughton during 2012-13, making just four loan appearances for Cambridge in the National League.
Due to his age Villa were ordered to pay City an initial £450,000 in compensation, with a further £500,000 potentially following depending on appearances and a further £225,000 depending on international caps, as well as a 20 percent sell-on fee.
Yet it has not been until the second half of this season that Norwich-born Steer has finally established himself at Villa Park, having had further loan stints in League One with Doncaster and Yeovil.
He made 38 Championship appearances for Huddersfield in 2015-16 but a ruptured Achilles tendon ruined his next campaign and he was used as back-up by Villa last season.
It was back in League One with Charlton during the first half of this campaign where Steer, now aged 26, got back on track though - playing a crucial role for the promotion hopefuls.
He was recalled in January and the Addicks have gone on to reach Wembley too, facing Sunderland on Sunday, but Steer has become a key player for Villa and played a starring role as West Brom were beaten in the play-off semi-finals.
Steer not only made crucial saves to take the tie to a penalty shootout but then saved two of the Baggies' efforts to tee up a clash with Derby County in the play-off final at Wembley on Monday.
"He could have been playing on Sunday with Charlton!" Villa boss Smith joked, having extended Steer's contract until 2020 in March.
"He can take great credit in them getting there, but more so in us getting to Wembley.
"His chance came along (in February) after injury to Ørjan Nyland and Lovre Kalinic. He was ready for it, he worked hard with (keeper coach) Neil Cutler and he's improved.
"He's got confidence. As have the players around him."
The Villans' chief is feeling confident ahead of the game as well.
Speaking to his club's official website, he added: "I think what helps us with that is that we've been playing must-win games for the last 15 or 16 matches.
"Every one has been taken in isolation and we went on an unbelievable run.
"These players can take great credit for that. Aston Villa has a proud history and these players are the ones who've won 10 on the bounce.
"They've already got history-making status on their side. They're in form, too.
"We've just dominated two games against Albion, who finished above us. I thought the right team went through."