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Villa Striker Nursing Ankle Injury

Martin O'Neill says that Villa youngster Gabby Agbonlahor has been fighting for the cause as he played through the pain barrier in recent games after picking up an ankle injury on boxing day.

O'Neill said: 'I have the utmost admiration for him.'

High praise indeed. 20-year-old Gabby has been an ever present this season leading to rumours of interest from Chelsea, who basically can sod off!

'Some of the younger players in the side are developing, but they need time to develop further. They're developing brilliantly, for example Gabriel Agbonlahor. Considering he's been playing for three weeks with a really bad ankle it speaks volumes for the lad. He went over on the side at Tottenham in the first two or three minutes and hasn't had a chance to recover. He's playing through the pain barrier at the minute and he's done remarkably well. He couldn't even strike the ball in the warm-up before the Chelsea game the other night, so he's showing a fantastic willingness to play and I have the utmost admiration for him.'

'He's played every single minute of every game and played probably three times as many games as he thought he would do at the start of the season. His attitude has been brilliant and he's learning all the time. Against Chelsea, despite the fact he didn't score, he did great for us. He hasn't complained and just said: 'I'll get on with it' but under normal circumstances if we could have afforded it, we would have rested him.'

He also says: 'If we could rotate them we would but we've not been able to. I'm not talking about younger players - if we could rotate some senior players that would be great. We've had less rotation in our side than any other in the Premiership at the moment. Numerically we might be less than last season. It's difficult. The number one general point is we want to improve the squad. We're a bit thin on the ground and we've known that for a couple of months. The players have done exceptionally well and there are really fine players here - and we have a few - but they need some help.'




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The Journalist

Writer: Lee Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 4 2007

Time: 11:33AM

Your Comments

Strange playing him if he couldn't kick a ball without pain before the Chelsea game?
The Fear
Very strange decision. Whats the point in playing a striker who cant kick the ball?
DeanoVilla
Certainly would explain whys he's been crap recently!
nottinghamvillain
Think we all need a bit of a reallity here guys.A committed 60% fit gab is better than 100% fit Baros at the moment.He is doing a job for us on the wing cause no one else is capable. I agree with other article that baros is our best striker with the most potential just dont know why we dont see it. Gab is a constant threat through the whole game and provides an outlet when our backs are against the wall.He is too fast for juan when he brakes down the right so maybe baros should be selected.Mon is down to the bare bones and he enginered a draw against Chelski think we should roll with it and accept his decisions.When you look back over our poor results the only game we got out played was the second half against Man U Martin needs to put on his lucky pants he had on during our unbeatin run.A bit of luck and we will push on again.
sk1nner80
Al credit then to Gabby for his attitude and determination to hang in there while not fully fit, and while obviously in some distress. The fault again lies in our failure to have a sufficiently experienced squad to allow the youngsters (and more senior pro's) to take breaks and rest up when injured and/or not firing on full cylinders. We are all obviously hoping that during this month of transfer activity, in roads will be made into rectifying that ridiculous situation.
glensider
Gabby's facing burn-out. He's not as sharp as he was early days. All youngsters need to be nursed along gently.
glensider
 

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