Lambert backs 'hidden gems'
Paul Lambert is predicting "big careers" for Aston Villa's rookie defenders Matthew Lowton and Joe Bennett if they maintain their current rate of progress.
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Lowton and Bennett have made the step up from League One and the Championship after being signed in the summer from Sheffield United and Middlesbrough respectively.
They are now Lambert's first choice right-back and left-back and the Villa boss believes they are unfazed by the Barclays Premier League ahead of Sunday's visit to Tottenham.
Lambert said: "People talk about them as hidden gems and you get great satisfaction from seeing them do well for themselves. The Norwich lads were exactly the same.
"There was the opportunity there for the young lads to drive on in the game and it's the same here.
"You wouldn't have thought they've just come from where they've come from, that's for sure.
"If you are talking about Lowton and Bennett, they don't seem fazed at all.
"They have played a lot of games with Sheffield United and Middlesbrough, so playing in front of big crowds will not faze them.
"Be it Championship or League One football, these are tough leagues so they are battle-hardened. They know what it is like to play proper football.
"They have earned the right to play at Tottenham and it is not something they should be frightened by. They should not go there with any trepidation."
Lambert takes great satisfaction from up-and-coming players realising their potential.
He said: "There is nothing better than seeing players hitting the heights you think they can achieve.
"If they can keep going the way they are going, they will have really big careers.
"I think they will learn from their mistakes and the type of players you come up against week in and week out are world-class players.
"I think it's a big learning curve for them. If they make a mistake, they can be punished - but you then do your utmost to make sure you don't make it again."
Lambert has to decide whether to recall striker Darren Bent after he responded to being dropped with the equaliser as a substitute in the 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa.
But he admitted: "I need everyone. I've always taken that stance. I've always been that way. I need not just the 18 lads but everyone at the football club to go the same way.
"As an ex player, I know you have to do your utmost to get into the side.
"But I trust everyone when they are on the field of play to perform and the lads have been great.
"The good thing about it is there is a really good feeling about the club at the moment.
"That's important. Some of the football we are playing is very good at the moment.
"You will get ups and downs in everything but at the minute I'm happy with what the lads are doing."
Lambert will come up against Tottenham striker Clint Dempsey for whom Villa agreed a fee with Fulham on the final day of the summer transfer window.
Dempsey had appeared set to join Liverpool only for the deal not to go through before he made the late switch to White Hart Lane.
Lambert said: "I wouldn't have said we were close to signing Dempsey. We tried but it never materialised.
"Was I surprised he went to Spurs? We had so much going on here ourselves at that time. The transfer window deadline day is a crazy thing at times."