O'Neill hails Young progress

14 February 2008 10:15
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has hailed the continued growth of impressive youngster Ashley Young. O'Neill raised eyebrows when he paid £9.65million to land the promising youngster from Watford in January 2006. However, the Villa chief believes Young's performances this season - which have also led to an England call-up - prove what a quality player he has become in little over a year at the Midlands club. The 21-year-old has made 30 appearances this season and found the back of the net on four occasions. "Ashley came limping off against Newcastle (last weekend), but he had done his work by then," he told the club's official website. "The doctor just said it was bumps and bruises - a bad back, sore knee, sore everything. But what a player he is. He was coming off in bits, but what a player. "I actually think Ashley enjoys being a marked man because it means he's making an impact on the game. When he came here this time last year he was searching for confidence. "After a very good opening game against Newcastle, the move had taken its toll and it was a case of trying to get that confidence going after that. "But the confidence is sky high now and the crowd love him. He loves taking people on and there is no doubt we are a lesser team without him. "He's a class player. The great thing about his own self-belief and self-confidence is that teams are doubling up on him and ignoring other players, but he doesn't mind at all. "He's able to manoeuvre the ball from foot to foot and whip the ball in from a set-piece or, more importantly, from anywhere on the pitch. It's very dangerous and he's absolute class."

Source: ESA