Villa boss O'Neill: Brilliant Ashley a marked man

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill admits Ashley Young is becoming a marked man in the Premiership.

The Villa chief said: "Ashley is receiving extra attention. That is a major compliment to him and it is about coping with those things and he has got a really good footballing brain.

"He is going to have to adjust. He is going to have to play the ball sometimes to unmarked team-mates - if only to find the space to then get the ball back again himself.

"I think at some stage, there will be things in the game that do frustrate you, and Ashley has to overcome that and he is making a fair fist of that for one so young."

Young has also shown his deadly finishing at free-kicks and O'Neill puts him up there on a par with the best dead ball exponents he has worked with during his lengthy career in management.

He said: "I've been really lucky with some of the people I've worked with. In my early days at Wycombe, I had Steve Guppy who could deliver a fantastic ball and I then took him to Leicester.

"I had Alan Thompson at Celtic who could put it anywhere you want it, on a sixpence, and he scored some great goals.

"But Ashley is also just brilliant. When he got the free-kick in the last game at Villa Park against Sunderland, you just felt he could score."

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