Former Reading defender Nicky Shorey has been backed by boss Martin O'Neill to force his way back into the Aston Villa first team.

Shorey has found himself on the outer in recent times but O'Neill believes he can push back into the selection fray, even after playing regular right-back Luke Young in Shorey's customary left-back position against Arsenal.

"When players come in with little pre-season it's just a matter of getting to grips with it and knowing what we want," O'Neill told the Birmingham Mail.

"Luke Young went to play left-back and in the first minute of the game Theo Walcott raced past him.

"But, I thought he stuck to his task and started to read it better. For basically a right-back playing at left-back he did very well indeed.

"As for Nicky, he will come again. At this minute he's trying to get used to the environment and what I'm asking him to do.

"He's a lovely footballer. It might have been a real test against Walcott after the mistake against Middlesbrough and I thought Luke Young coped brilliantly."