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Stage Fright Wasn't an Issue

Speaking on the official site today, Martin O'Neill has insisted that our younger players did not have a case of the 'willies' because of playing in front of new England manager Fabio Capello.

Some of the press have been stating that Gabby and Young failed to find any fluency during the match because they felt intimidated, which although a nice excuse is a load of nonsense.

'Were they affected by Capello's presence? You may well have to ask them but it never entered my head. Was he here?

'But then I'm not 21 and trying to play for England.

'Gabby and Ashley have been threatening to go past players all season and have been playing with a freedom of expression. It wasn't there today but give United credit. They may have all the flair in the world but they were steadfast defensively.

'It is a fantastic compliment to Ashley Young that even a team like United were doubling up on him after just one season in the Premier League.

'And Gabby has got a lot of potential. We have a lot of players with potential who are definitely going to get better.

'Some of the younger players - and the older ones too with players like Martin Laursen - their performances have been terrific.

'The litmus test is them playing against Manchester United in a big Cup game, but I think these players will all improve.

'United have a quality of player that we would like to get to, with everyone comfortable on the ball.'

I'm not sure on some of his comments to be fair, but we can't agree all the time can we. Teams are sussing out how we play and defending accordingly now which is why Maloney should be playing a bigger part as he gives us another dimension.

But for all the potential in the world our strikers need to be converting better, only in brief glimpses do we seem dangerous when Carew plays, we would do far, far better in my mind by going back to the 433.

Should the 'willies' have got to our younger lads though and they are worrying they blew it, Martin also doesn't believe Fabio will have made his mind up about anyone at this stage of the game.

'I am sure Fabio will have plenty of time to assess all the English players between now and the summertime before the main business starts for him in September with the World Cup qualifiers.'






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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 7 2008

Time: 3:54PM

Your Comments

Young and Gabby have looked cream crackered on occasions recently. MON loves to stick with the same team whatever. He's not really rotated to any extent; Maloney, Davies, Cahill and Harewood could all have been given more game time to allow these youngsters not to burn out. It's a delicate balance though.
tarzan
ok so you think we should quit playing the formation we are playing...why? are we not doing well enough as it is? i for one have no arguments with the way MON is doing things at the moment.
ric112
I don't think the argument is that we shouldn't play this formation but that eventually the players being used may burn out and be forced into change. We can thank MON for putting together a team that has reached 7th so far, but how long can we sustain that on the current squad options?
johnnyuk
We could do with some new faces just to give some of the existing squad a break now and then. I notice there are several reports tonight claiming we have agreed a deal with Reading for Doyle with Luke going the other way and also for Barnes. The reports say the transfers will be completed this week. Not sure on that seems most unlike MON 1 minute to midnight on the last day is usually his arena. It would enable him to keep the same formation which seems to work for us but also to freshen things up when needed.
daveldvilla
They were quiet by their standards admittedly, but they're young, still learning their trade, it happens. I certainly read nothing into it. Both have played a lot of football this season, both must surely be in the running for the various player of the year awards that are on offer. We can allow them the odd quiet game.
glensider
One thing about the past weekends cup-tie, I think it has to be said that United kept us quieter as an attacking force than virtually all visitors to VP have so far been able to do this season. Their attacking players get the plaudits, but theres no doubting that they are fairly solid defensively.
glensider
 

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