Young hails Villa Park's deadly duo

Defender admits fitness of attacking pair is crucial to club's hopes this season

The Aston Villa defender Luke Young believes it is vital that key attacking duo Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young stay fit for the second half of the season to sustain a push for domestic and European success.

Agbonlahor and Ashley Young were among eight players rested for the final Uefa Cup group game away to Hamburg on Wednesday and were sorely missed as Villa went down 3-1, although they had already qualified for the knockout rounds.

Agbonlahor's pace and Young's trickery have been vital components in maintaining a challenge for a top-four finish in the Premier League. Luke Young, one of only three regular first-teamers to play in Germany, said: "It is crucial people like Gabby and Ashley stay fit for the remainder of the season. Definitely. You have a few players in the squad who are irreplaceable.

"With some players, one can come in for another but, when you've got the likes of Gabby up there with his pace, it is hard to bring someone else in like that. It is not the biggest squad and, up front at the moment, with big John Carew being out, if Gabby was to get injured, we would be a little bit light with only Marlon [Harewood] and young Nathan [Delfouneso] left.

"Then we also have Ashley at the minute who is really on fire. You need to keep everyone fit in the squad, especially your top players. Gabby and Ashley are causing problems and causing havoc together."

Young, speaking before tomorrow's league game against West Ham United at Upton Park, admits Villa's attacking power means they can still win games even when the side is not firing on all cylinders. He said: "At the minute, even if we are not playing well, we can have a 10-minute spell where we can score a couple of goals and put games to bed with the way Ash, Gabby and James [Milner] are breaking.

"Sometimes it frightens teams and perhaps that is why some are coming to Villa Park and playing defensively. I've been in teams before, like at Charlton, [when] we were looking for a spark and someone to break teams down and probably didn't have it.

"Now we've got the lads up front that make life easy for you. If you are doing your job at the back, you know you are going to score goals."

Young has been impressed by 17-year-old Delfouneso, who scored his second goal in two Uefa Cup games against Martin Jol's side.

And the ex-England full-back feels that the way the Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, encourages his flair players to perform without fear is a big factor. Young said: "Nathan scored another goal, which can only be good for his confidence, but it is the way he approaches the game as well. He gets the ball and he just takes people on.

"We see it in training every day. He has got quick feet, is lightning quick, can beat a man and score a goal.

"Sometimes when you come into a side you are a little bit safe in what you do but Nathan has come in and wants to make his mark."

17

Total goals Ashley Young and Villa team-mate Gabriel Agbonlahor have scored this term.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?