Sport Soccer

Thursday 28 August 2014

Agbonlahor hails Villa youngsters

Published 06/05/2013 | 10:26

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Gabriel Agbonlahor sees vast improvement in Aston Villa's youthful squad

Gabriel Agbonlahor feels Aston Villa's young guns have "stepped up to the plate" to help drive the team towards Barclays Premier League safety.

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Lambert, whose side have now reached 40 points, has long championed his faith in youth as he looks to rebuild the squad - a philosophy which had looked misplaced earlier in the season following a 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City, then shipping eight at Chelsea, four at Tottenham on Boxing Day and losing 3-0 at home to Wigan on December 29.

"The young lads have come through. They have had some bad things said about them when things were not going too well, but they had stood up to the plate and performed week in, week out, and tried their hardest to improve and they are improving game by game," Agbonlahor said.

"Hopefully if we can get this season out of the way you will see more improvement next season. They have had a lot of pressure on them and great credit to them they've stuck at it, carried on playing and fighting in big games.

"They have not crumbled and game by game they are improving. They have come back from games like at Chelsea, and long may it continue."

Lambert had guided Norwich to successive promotions from npower League One and then kept them in the Premier League before an acrimonious departure last summer. The Scotsman is confident if Villa continue their work ethic over the final two matches against Chelsea and fellow relegation-battlers Wigan on the final day, then the reward will come.

"There are a lot of teams who are not safe. We are playing ever so well at the minute and that's all you can ask for, but you are never safe until you have actually done it," Lambert said.

"You have just got to be resolute in what you are doing and have the belief in them that they can do it.

"There is a lot of pressure at the football club because of the size of it, it is a massive club with a massive fan base and the history tells you that there is a lot of expectation, but that is something you revel in.

"It is not something I am going to get over-worked about. I have got a great rapport with the people at the football club and with the supporters, which is vital. They have stuck by us in really hard times and hopefully they are getting a little bit of joy from what's happening now."

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