Villa boss O'Neill confident Carson OK

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is confident Scott Carson can handle the flak that will be coming his way from fans up-and-down the country.

O'Neill confessed: "I don't know how the fans will react - and whatever I say won't make a jot of a difference.

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"I would hope that when the game is analysed again and again, people will see that Scott was able to atone by making an instinctive save which was incredible.

"But is that what England fans, still despondent from not qualifying, really want to hear?"

Carson is guaranteed to start for Villa against Boro at the Riverside today.

O'Neill plans to have talks with the keeper and Villa skipper Gareth Barry, who also figured in Wednesday's Wembley defeat.

And the Irishman insisted: "Scott will be disappointed. But he's 22, which is incredibly young for a goalkeeper. He has plenty of time.

"Peter Shilton made a mistake in 1973 against Poland and only turned out to be the best keeper in the world.

"Our goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh spoke to Scott on Wednesday night - and I will be talking to him, too.

"He will be down. But I am sure that Scott is strong enough and will want to play the game.

"He did well in his last Villa match against Birmingham and that's how I should judge it."

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