The deal is for three and a half years and Herd becomes the latest of Villa's youngsters to commit to the club long-term. The Australian midfielder made his debut earlier this season against Manchester United and has seen intermittent first-team action since then. He's not in the same class of prospect as Bannan, Albrighton, or Clark, but he's a solid youngster and has a well-rounded range of skills, capable in both a holding and attacking midfield role.
Herd was most recently in the news for his hat-trick in the Villa reserves' 10-1 victory over Arsenal's reserves and though the midfield is a bit crowded at the moment (and hopefully due to become even more so before the month is out) but such an effort is bound to lead to a bit more of a look in the future. Contracts such as these are fairly common for younger players, but it does give when pause when considering all of the talk of the players being in open rebellion against Gerard Houllier. It's certainly not proof one way or the other, but does it seem logical that so many players would be signing new contracts were their lives at the club so miserable? Just something to consider.
In any case, it's good to have another quality young player committed to Villa for a few more years. Hopefully this will end up being a long, happy and mutually beneficial arrangement.