Chris Herd has agreed fresh terms with Aston Villa and is poised to pen a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the midlands club.
The agreement will keep the Australia U20 international at the club until the summer of 2015.
Herd had 18 months remaining of his current deal but has earned his new contract after impressing manager Alex McLeish since breaking into the first team.
He made his debut against Manchester United last season, and this season has operated at right-back and latterly in central midfield.
McLeish said: "Chris is in the team because he has deserved a chance. He has been a good anchor man in the team. He keeps the game simple.
"He's shown that you can force your way in, and I want other players who are willing to kick the door down and make me pick them.
"That was the message I gave to all of them at the start of the season, and that is what Chris has done.
"He's a whole-hearted boy. He has fantastic application. He trains like a beast every day and is a good role model to any player in terms of his attitude.
"He is improving all the time, and that's partly because he's getting first team football."
Herd, 22, who joined Villa as a schoolboy seven years ago, is also eligible to play for Scotland - his parents were both born north of the border - but has opted to play for his native country.
He was chosen for Australia's recent World Cup qualifiers with Oman and Thailand but had to pull out of the squad through injury.
Herd said: "I was born and raised in Australia and I love the country and I just want to represent them.
"Tim Cahill is the player who inspires me most. He came from Millwall and now is playing for Everton and Australia.
"He is the great model I look up to. After his move to Everton, he's been a star in Australia."