O'Neill In Praise Of Youth Academy
Martin O'Neill has sung the praises of the youth academy set up at Aston Villa, a far cry from the last manager who would only sing his own praises!
O'Neill said: 'When you think of the players that are beginning to come through from the Academy, and are actually playing in the first team like Agbonlahor, Moore, Ridgewell, Davis, Osbourne, it is very encouraging indeed. I have seen other academies where you might get two players coming through - and then there is a barren spell for several years but there has been a steady stream of people here.'
'I see things staying the same. There is little point in changing if it is going fine. I have taken my staff with me at first team level, people I have worked with before and have a great deal of trust in. But if there is something working very well in the background, then stick with it, go with it.'
'The players I have mentioned are making a reasonable fist of it. Agbonlahor wouldn't have played the same number of games as Davis and Ridgewell but has been very good. They have all got excellent potential in their positions. We are playing in a very difficult league and these players are not only holding their own but beginning to make an impression. Liam is learning all the time and Steve Davis is getting umpteen caps for Northern Ireland. It is auguring well. It has been very encouraging from pre-season onwards.'
'I'm really still getting to know them but it is great to work with them and I think there is much improvement in all of them.'