Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish demands more from Charles N'Zogbia

 

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish has challenged winger Charles N'Zogbia to start producing the form he showed for former club Wigan on a consistent basis ahead of tomorrow's clash at the DW Stadium.

McLeish splashed out £9 million on N'Zogbia last summer and has seen only flashes of the inspirational play which helped to keep the Latics in the Barclays Premier League.

But the Villa manager insists N'Zogbia is not unique in taking time to settle at a new club.

McLeish said: "I've been up there many times playing Wigan in the past with my team before and Charles was one of the differences.

"At the end of last season for Wigan, I thought he was the guy that made the difference.

"If he can bring that form to us on a really consistent level, then Charles is going to make a name (for himself) at Aston Villa."

McLeish added: "Charles has been slow to settle but you only have to look at other examples up and down the country.

"Why has Andy Carroll been slow to settle at Liverpool. Why has Stewart Downing been slow to settle there? You are talking about two great players.

"It is just one of the mysteries of football. You tend to think when you get an English player, or a player who has been playing in England, that they will hit the ground running.

"But sometimes they need time to settle in so I don't think it is unique to Charles.

"Charles has shown us some great moments and hopefully there will be a few more from now until the end of the season."

McLeish is hoping striker Gabriel Agbonlahor will also make an impact on his return after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury.

He said: "We are no different to any other team in the country in that, if you are missing your top players, it can be a big miss.

"Gabby is one of the top players at this club and is feared throughout the Premier League.

"He is always a threat because of his pace and the way he imposes himself on a game. If he imposes himself, every player in the country would be frightened of him."

Fellow striker Robbie Keane will make his final appearance on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy and has made a favourable impression with three goals in five starts for Villa.

But McLeish is not ruling out a return at some stage in the future for the former Tottenham player.

He said: "We haven't really spoken about permanent moves or anything like that but we've now forged a relationship with Robbie.

"We understand he has got a couple of years on his contract to go there at Galaxy.

"But maybe he could do us a favour next year again as well when we can add another player to the squad for not a lot of money.

"That is good in these times of austerity and when the transfer window in January goes absolutely mental.

"Robbie has got the appetite, he has got the skill and hopefully some of the stuff he has shown on the training ground has rubbed off on some of the younger lads."

PA

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