Stephen Ireland reborn as Aston Villa's elder statesman
10 November 2012 12:00
But on closer inspection, it becomes clear that in among them is Darren Bent.
It is not, after all, the under-15s about to be put through their paces.
This is the Aston
Villa first-team squad.
Seventeen years ago, Manchester
United played at Villa Park with a side of such striking youth Alan
Hansen was moved to make his infamous observation about how little can be
won with young players.
As the two sides prepare to meet this afternoon it is Villa who are now in
thrall to the next generation. With players such as Matthew Lowton, Joe
Bennett, Christian Benteke and Ciaran Clark in their midst, the average age
of the side which beat Sunderland last weekend was 24.
“I know, they aren’t half getting younger,” says Stephen Ireland of his team
“I had this at Manchester City. Kevin Keegan left, Stuart Pearce took over and
all of a sudden, me Micah Richards, Joe Hart were given a chance.” And, he
adds, those City youngsters were a bunch of kids who went on to win