Petrov backs Gabby for England

By Team Talk
Last updated : 02 October 2011

Agbonlahor defied a recurring back problem to score his fourth goal of the season and set up another for Darren Bent in Villa's 2-0 Premier League home win over Wigan on Saturday.

He has recaptured the form that earned him an England call-up, and put him into contention for Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro, although he is due to see a specialist this week.

It is a far cry from the player who was often used in a wide role last season by then manager Gerard Houllier, and looked disillusioned.

Petrov said: "Against Wigan is the way Gabby plays - that is his strength. If he manages to use it every game, teams would be scared.

"Look at Wigan. Every time he picked up the ball they were going backwards because they were scared to go closer to him.

"That is Gabby. We know what he can do. He does it every day in training and he has been doing it more consistently.

"That is what makes good players - being consistent every game. That will make you a world-class player."

Petrov added: "I don't think there should be any doubt about Fabio Capello picking Gabby for England.

"I wouldn't even think about it. He deserves to be there. He has great ambitions and we will probably see him back in the England jersey."

That is likely to be delayed given the extent of Agbonlahor's back problem and he is focused on trying to resolve the injury during the international break.

He said: "I've got a back problem which I'm going to get sorted during the international break.

"I'm going to see a specialist about it - but overall I feel okay and I feel good about things.

"The manager [Alex McLeish] knows what I am capable of and has given all the players the confidence to go out and do their best."

McLeish, who dedicated Villa's win to his father-in-law, Danny Taylor, who died on Thursday, said: "Gabby has got some untapped ability and has surprised me with a few of the things he does.

"He can become even better and we are working to get the best out of guys like Gabby.

"But he is getting treatment for a back injury, is having manipulative work every day, and I'm glad we got him off the treatment table to play."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has no regrets about not landing the Villa post during the summer before the appointment of McLeish.

He said: "Villa is a fantastic club with great tradition but we haven't finished the job at Wigan and I'm honoured and privileged to be the manager of my club.

"We always had a three-year project and my chairman [Dave Whelan] has been very supportive and loyal and it was my time to be loyal and support him [when Villa were interested].

"He deserves that and we are really excited about the next aims at Wigan.

"We are in the seventh season in the Premier League. We are a football dream. I feel we are ready to take that to a different level.

"I always wanted Wigan not to be a team fighting to avoid relegation."

Agbonlahor latched onto a through-pass from the impressive Barry Bannan to open the scoring before half-time and then turned creator for Bent with an inviting cross after a 50-yard touchline run.

Villa's on-loan Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas will be out for a further month with an Achilles problem and is still to make his debut after signing on transfer deadline day in August.

Source: Team Talk

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