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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Getty
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor