Gabby plays through pain

Last updated : 04 January 2007 By Terry Trumpton

A mammoth injury list meant O'Neill was forced to play the 21-year-old, who has played every minute for the side this season, against Charlton and Chelsea. "Gabriel has played through the pain barrier after hurting his ankle early on against Tottenham," said the manager. "In normal circumstances we would rest him, but the opportunity has not been there. We have less chance to rotate than most. He has not missed a single minute of a single game and he has been really excellent for us. I have been delighted with him."

Villa have nevertheless been linked with Rangers out-of-favour midfielder Barry Ferguson although Paul Le Guen's dismissal may scotch those rumours.