Gabriel Agbonlahor is to be among the first new caps of Fabio Capello's England regime. The Aston Villa striker has made a big impression on the Italian's backroom team and is due to be included in the squad to face Switzerland on 6 February.
Agbonlahor, 21, has nine caps for the England Under-21s and courted controversy in the summer when he missed the training camp in Spain ahead of the European Under-21 Championships. Left out of the squad by manager Stuart Pearce for that tournament, he has been recalled since and has enjoyed an impressive second season in the Premier League.
Agbonlahor, who also qualified to play for Nigeria through his father and Scotland through his mother, has seven goals for Martin O'Neill's team this season. A left-sided attacker, he was the Barclays Premier League player of the month for December and his rise in form has coincided with Capello taking the job. The England manager starts the job officially on 7 January along with his assistants Franco Baldini, Italo Galbiati and Massimo Neri, but they have kept a close eye on the Christmas games. Agbonlahor helped Villa draw at Chelsea and scored the winning goal against Wigan on Saturday. Villa take on Tottenham this afternoon.
On Villa's books since the age of 14, Agbonlahor scored on his Premier League debut against Everton two years ago, but it was last season under O'Neill that he made his breakthrough, starting all but one of Villa's 42 games. There were 10 goals as well to make him Villa's top scorer.
That form has spilled over into the current campaign and among England-qualified players, only Dave Kitson of Reading, with eight, has scored more goals in the Premier League than the Birmingham-born forward.Reuse content