Writer: J P Fear
Date:Friday November 10 2006
Martin O'Neill has said our 20-year-old striker Gabby Agbonlahor has to be allowed to develop at his own pace.
Same has to go for all our youth players as well surely? I get sick of the fans who say bring in the youth players then slate them when they have a bad game or two. Liam Ridgewell and Jlloyd Samuel were targets last season, Steven Davis has been the victim of doubting Thomas's this season. Lets cut them a break eh? They come into the team and have to undergo a massive learning curve, so they'll have some good games and some bad games, we don't have to write them off as soon as one of the bad games come along do we?
Anyway, I went off on one then, what was I saying? Oh, it was Martin O'Neill.......!
'Is Agbonlahor close to challenging Aaron Lennon? He is a definite threat. There is no question about that. Even when he has a relatively poor day by his standards he is still a threat and causes teams plenty of problems. Gabby is improving almost on a daily basis. It is great he is getting a big run in the team now and his confidence is such that he feels very much part of things. It is not a situation where he is looking over his shoulder at this minute in time. It is one where he is going out to express himself.'
'He is playing wide generally at the moment. He is definitely playing very well. But I wouldn't start to heap a whole lot of pressure on him now by talking about international call-ups and stuff like that. Gabby has got loads of time to develop his game and that's what he is doing. Gabby is a very level-headed lad and I don't think he is affected at all by things - but let's not rush him.'
'This is his first full season in the Premier League, the first time he has gone consecutive games where he has not been out of the team. He deserves to be in there and is playing terrific - but we'll just leave it like that at the moment.'
Date:Friday November 10 2006
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