Gabby Is Villa's Rooney

18 February 2010 10:19
Agbonlahor proves his worth One English striker has rightly drawn all the plaudits in the Premier League this season as he drives his side on to glory. And he will hope to do the same in the summer as the Three Lions go in search of a World Cup win in South Africa. That man is Wayne Rooney, of course, but there is another young England hit man who is proving just as important to his side among the top league elite. Villa's Gabby Agbonlahor has been crucial to the success of the Claret and Blue as they continue to compete on three fronts. The 23-year-old striker has netted 12 goals in all competitions, including 10 in the league, and has emerged as a must have for manager Martin O'Neill. And his status as a pivotal cog in the Villa engine has been helped by the complete lack of form shown by strike partners John Carew and Emile Heskey. Carew and Heskey have just nine goals between them and are really failing to light the blue touch paper every time they get a chance to star for their club. The scoring burden is weighing heavy on Agbonlahor and that was emphasised at Fulham recently when his two strikes won the game for Villa. His reputation was further enhanced indirectly at Crystal Palace last Sunday, as his team-mates toiled against the Championship side. Both Carew and Heskey left a lot to be desired with their displays and it wasn't until Nathan Delfouneso was introduced late on that Villa had a bit of life up front. Delfouneso is a real prospect. He has pace, strength and, most importantly, a killer instinct and he could eventually help out Agbonlahor on the goal front. But, for now, Aggie must go it alone. No doubt he will be helped by some superb service from the likes of James Milner and Ashley Young which will make his job a little easier but he retains the pressure for the rest of the season. Rooney, like his young England rival, must also continue to hold together a team. He is proving to be world class this year and, ahead of the big summer showpiece in South Africa, Fabio Capello has plenty of reasons to be all smiles.