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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Ash Is Still A Young Genius

Martin O'Neill has praised Ashley Young for his work ethic and dismissed comments that he has struggled this season for form.

Speaking on the Official Site ahead of our FA Cup tie against Palace, Monny has backed the winger for improving his overall game this season, especially his defensive qualities and his willingness to track back and help out in defence.

'This idea that people say he has not had the season as before - I disagree with that.'

It's almost hard not to disagree with that comment in itself. It's not that Ash is a one trick pony, or that his confidence has overly taken a battering, it's just more the case that season more than ever before teams know what to expect from him. Players know his tricks more, and he's being double marked far more than in previous seasons.

We've all seen him not hang on the line like he used to, he's coming deeper for the ball which means most of the time when he does get the ball now he has to turn first, so hasn't quite been able to get into his stride of just running at defenders anymore. Whether we like it or not, losing Barry has also had a great affect on that. Nobody in the team now pings it with such speed to him anymore.

In some ways it's ironic that our typical route one in previous years was 'wide to Ash' left us crying out for a Plan B, and now that we sort of have a Plan B with Milner and Downing we've lost our effective Plan A.

So I do agree with Monny that Ash has varied his game, I think he works harder now than he did before, but we just aren't set up for him to play to his best strength which is receiving the ball facing the goal, so he can go at speed to a fullback.

Hopefully as we work out the new system better, see more positional crossing and movement between Ash, Milly and Downing all switching sides and rotating to keep defenders confused, we'll see the best of Ash again.

On form, happy and flying he's a delight to watch. So whilst Monny is right that he's working harder and helping out in defence more than before and in that way being less selfish as a player, you still have to acknowledge that he hasn't been as influential as we have come to expect.

For me Martin Laursen has it spot on about why Ash hasn't been the flying winger we expect.

'Everyone knows about him in the Premier League and because of that, the defenders are hard on him.'

Laursen adds that Ash is always trying to learn and is a fighter, so will be doing his best to overcome this 'dip' for want of a better phrase and come back stronger and show what he's capable of.

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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday February 14 2010

Time: 3:17PM

Your Comments

If we could get Joe Cole in our midfield as well and a 20 goal a season striker (Bent) to compete with Gabby it will take so much pressure off Young. As a team you would have those four to defend against, so if one is doubled marked that leaves at least 1 free, thus hopefully creating more 1 on 1's for Young. Whoever is up front then has all the creativity they need to bang them in
Francobaresi13
If we could get Joe Cole in our midfield as well and a 20 goal a season striker (Bent) to compete with Gabby it will take so much pressure off Young. As a team you would have those four to defend against, so if one is doubled marked that leaves at least 1 free, thus hopefully creating more 1 on 1's for Young. Whoever is up front then has all the creativity they need to bang them in
Francobaresi13
Struggled today.
benji_starsky_avfc
Struggled today.
benji_starsky_avfc
Cole would never come, he's a total southerner and whoever gets him will be paying 120000ish a week. No way would MON pay that.
johnmurphy3112
Cole would never come, he's a total southerner and whoever gets him will be paying 120000ish a week. No way would MON pay that.
johnmurphy3112
I go back to what I said at the front end of the season. We do not look comfortable playing two out and out wingers. This has been the case ever since Milner arrived. Ash looks his best when he has a midfield platform that allows him to attack without as much responsibllity of tracking back. At the moment because there is so much room in the midfield, both Downing and Young spend as much time working back as they do going forward. As much as MON persists, the two wide men hasn't really worked. It has got us so far, but it is now the system that will prevent us going any further. It is all about opinions and I personally would have a midfield 3 of Petrov, Milner and Delph. I would have a front two which would be a combination of Gabi/Fonz alongside Carew/Heskey. I would then have Young OR (definitely not both) Downing playing the free role. They could choose to go down the left or right wing, or sit in behind the front two. It reduces width but in truth we score very few goals because of the two wingers in open play. Most of our goals from wide are set pieces and these would still be scored if we only played with one out and out winger.
voiceoftheholte
I go back to what I said at the front end of the season. We do not look comfortable playing two out and out wingers. This has been the case ever since Milner arrived. Ash looks his best when he has a midfield platform that allows him to attack without as much responsibllity of tracking back. At the moment because there is so much room in the midfield, both Downing and Young spend as much time working back as they do going forward. As much as MON persists, the two wide men hasn't really worked. It has got us so far, but it is now the system that will prevent us going any further. It is all about opinions and I personally would have a midfield 3 of Petrov, Milner and Delph. I would have a front two which would be a combination of Gabi/Fonz alongside Carew/Heskey. I would then have Young OR (definitely not both) Downing playing the free role. They could choose to go down the left or right wing, or sit in behind the front two. It reduces width but in truth we score very few goals because of the two wingers in open play. Most of our goals from wide are set pieces and these would still be scored if we only played with one out and out winger.
voiceoftheholte
i cant see joe cole at the villa i really want defoe but that aint gunna happen either bent not sure i dont think he will be as consisatnt as the likes of defoe. things are looking promising for villa and i think within the next two or three seasons will see a top top villa team competing with the likes of liverpool and arsenal i would like to say chealsea too but they really are in a leauge of their own. we must do our best to ease delph into the team and enable him to devlop his skills he may will be our fabragas!
black_villian
i cant see joe cole at the villa i really want defoe but that aint gunna happen either bent not sure i dont think he will be as consisatnt as the likes of defoe. things are looking promising for villa and i think within the next two or three seasons will see a top top villa team competing with the likes of liverpool and arsenal i would like to say chealsea too but they really are in a leauge of their own. we must do our best to ease delph into the team and enable him to devlop his skills he may will be our fabragas!
black_villian
Fair enough you probably have a point about Cole. But in my opinion we certainly need that type of player in the team, but with O'Neill's track record when it comes to transfers, I can't think of a single English player who fits that role (though I do live in Thailand and the coverage of lower league football out here is non existent). The way the wingers are playing is a good point. I feel with an extra creative midfielder in there it would allow the players to switch positions in the game, making it far harder for players marking them to get into a rhythm. You only have to look at Man U last season with the way Rooney, Ronaldo, Giggs et al constantly swapped positions and caused teams fits. Then again, they are 2 of the best players in the world and one of the best of all time so it was no surprise. Still, with the way the English game is played and the ability those boys do have I really do believe that a midfield quadrant, with a 5th player holding could really give us an edge, especially against some of the teams we should have beaten this season. Saying all that though, MON is still far more qualified than me and has more experience of developing teams than I do...I'm sure he knows what he is doing.
Francobaresi13
Fair enough you probably have a point about Cole. But in my opinion we certainly need that type of player in the team, but with O'Neill's track record when it comes to transfers, I can't think of a single English player who fits that role (though I do live in Thailand and the coverage of lower league football out here is non existent). The way the wingers are playing is a good point. I feel with an extra creative midfielder in there it would allow the players to switch positions in the game, making it far harder for players marking them to get into a rhythm. You only have to look at Man U last season with the way Rooney, Ronaldo, Giggs et al constantly swapped positions and caused teams fits. Then again, they are 2 of the best players in the world and one of the best of all time so it was no surprise. Still, with the way the English game is played and the ability those boys do have I really do believe that a midfield quadrant, with a 5th player holding could really give us an edge, especially against some of the teams we should have beaten this season. Saying all that though, MON is still far more qualified than me and has more experience of developing teams than I do...I'm sure he knows what he is doing.
Francobaresi13
 

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