Writer: Mike Field
Date:Saturday September 19 2009
Martin O'Neill insists that Gabby Agbonlahor is well on course to secure a place for the 2010 World Cup, all he has to do is maintain this consistency.
Speaking on the official site, Monny couldn't give Gabby enough praise after another 'simply sensational' goal in today's match against Pompey.
'Gabby is playing brilliantly for us, really brilliantly.
'That's three great goals he has scored for us now. I think South Africa is a long, long, long way off for anyone but the good thing is if he can continue that sort of form he will be hard to ignore.'
O'Neill is also more than man enough to admit he was wrong for concerns over Gabby bulking up during the summer. O'Neill was seriously concerned that he would have lost more than a yard of pace now he has muscular man boobs, but he's delighted he has been proven wrong in this instance.
'I'm sure our fitness coach is secretly delighted.
'But I just think if you spend ages and ages on the weights you might lose a bit of pace.
'It has worked out greatly. And I am obviously wrong.'
Individual performance wise he isn't doing that great if we are honest, he doesn't look sparkling and when he gets the ball you still don't get that confident 'something will happen here' feeling.
However after his blip for the whole of the second half of last season, we all know he worked hard over the summer, to me he looks a little more confident with his left peg and he's back on a scoring run. More importantly his goals so far aren't based on him knocking the ball 20 yards past the last defender and going one on one with the keeper.
He's developing the knack that all great strikers have in my opinion....he's doing nigh on nothing for 89 minutes and winning points in a 60 second period.
We now have a mix of genuine 'striker' goals, right peg, left peg, tap ins, outside the box, headers. The full gambit that any decent striker needs. He's not as reliant on his pace this season, there's more to him and that gives a hell of a lot of hope for the future - afterall detractors point to 'one trick pony' and 'barndoor' aspects, he's no longer a one trick pony and he's hitting the barndoor again.
He's by no means the finished article, and without your claret and blue spectacles on I think you'd be hard pushed to find many who would at this moment in time put him above Defoe, Crouch, Bent, or even Carlton Cole at the moment.
But that's only at the moment, if he carries on at this rate and more importantly sorts out the consistency problems that have plagued him so far I'd be willing to have a cheeky bet on him being on the plane to South Africa come next summer.
Date:Saturday September 19 2009
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