O'Neill: Villa can influence England future

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill admits they could influence the future of Fabio Capello's England.

He said: "We do have a number of good English players here when it's being said that others don't.

"We can be influential for England with what we do here. We have not done this deliberately in the sense that we won't sign someone from Bolivia if he fits but I wanted the core of my team to be English.

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"I have gone down a route which I'm trying to follow. To bring in English players. But my next signings might be foreign.

"Arsene Wenger's job is to win matches for Arsenal. Mine is to do likewise for Aston Villa. However, I'm delighted with some of the young English players we have at this club. Whether or not it's fruitful in the long term, who knows?

"Agbonlahor and Young are thriving and Barry has earned his place. There is a perception that there aren't young English players about. Maybe it's something that should be looked at in this root-and-branch inquiry."

O'Neill admits it is no happy coincidence that he has taken up the flag of St George.

"Look at Young and Agbonlahor, in particular. Young has natural talent. He didn't get that with Aston Villa. Agbonlahor was regarded as pacy, but didn't have a good first touch. He has worked all hours to improve on that. However, what they have in common is that they want to improve and work hard.

"I have faith in those players. Real faith. I don't mind going for the likes of someone who is 21, 22, 23 with a lot to prove and who has potential. I'd seen enough of Ashley Young, for example, to know that the money we were spending would not be a major risk.

"Nigel Reo-Coker does so much for the side from midfield. We think Curtis Davies is full of potential and so are Zat Knight and Marlon Harewood. Don't forget, we have also given chances to people like Luke Moore, Gabby Agbonlahor and others like Craig Gardner who has now tasted international Under 21 football. And I'm absolutely confident about the potential which they all have."

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