Isaiah Osbourne has paid tribute to Martin O'Neill after penning a new two-and-a-half year deal with Aston Villa.
After arriving at Villa Park in the summer the Ulsterman plucked the promising midfielder from the club's academy to join the first team and has been rewarded with a number of promising displays.
Osbourne has featured eight times in the Premiership this season and has marked his rise to prominence by committing his future to the club until June 2009.
After putting pen-to-paper, the talented midfielder thanked O'Neill for giving him the chance to shine at Villa Park.
"The gaffer has made a big difference, he saw something in me and was willing to give me a chance. That's all I ever wanted," Osbourne told the club's official website.
"I don't think I would have been given the chance before but Martin O'Neill got me training with the senior squad early on and hopefully I'm repaying him.
"I'm obviously delighted to sign the new deal and it's been a fantastic few months for me.
"I came back in the summer determined this was going to be my year but I don't think I expected things to go so well. It's been amazing."
O'Neill has also expressed his pleasure with Osbourne's form so far this season.
"There is no doubt that Isaiah has got potential, I am very pleased with the way he has played," said O'Neill.
"His hero is Patrick Vieira - not a bad one to aspire to.
"His whole approach to the game is so refreshing and he's got real natural ability which is encouraging."