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Villa boss O'Neill convinced UEFA Cup form will win Agbonlahor England recall

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill believes Gabby Agbonlahor's UEFA Cup performance against Ajax can help him win an England place.

"It could help him, yes," remarked O'Neill when asked if Capello would likely be swayed by Agbonlahor's recent targetman efforts.

"In the Under-21 game against Wales the other night (2-2 draw at Villa Park), he played on his own in attack. So he can do it. It's not a problem to him. It's not as if you are asking him to do something that he can't do.

"He feels he is capable of doing it, and I have to say, his hold-up play is improving all the time."

Assessing Agbonlahor's adaptation to the role, O'Neill added: "It's a strong man's game, and in the two years I have known him, Gaby has improved his physique. He is now so strong.

"Other players can be strong, but not as brave. He leans back into players, holds them off, and that's the part of his game that's improved beyond all recognition.

"I don't think he was ever a light player. If you look at him two years ago he was still quite strong, but he has become stronger.

"He was playing in a different role then. For the first half of the 2006-07 season, with Juan Pablo Angel up front, Gaby was playing on the wing.

"He has since adapted, although we have always known centre-forward was the position he wanted to play. His previous role has at least stood him in good stead because when he goes wide, as he has been there before he knows what to do.

"I know it sounds as if I am in raptures about him, but I thought he was terrific against Ajax."

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Tribal Football Staff

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