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Young: Villa can maintain Euro push
Published : 06 Dec 2009 14:05:06
Young and his Villa team-mates ran out of steam during the final third of the last campaign as manager Martin O'Neill operated with one of the smallest squads in the Premier League. They went into March holding a five point lead over Arsenal only to eventually finish sixth and scrape into the Europa League qualifiers. But full-back Young feels Villa now have competition for places all over the pitch after the comfortable 3-0 home success over Hull. Experienced campaigners Nigel Reo-Coker, Steve Sidwell, John Carew, Habib Beye plus the injured James Collins, Curtis Davies and Wilfred Bouma were all absent from the starting line-up. And Villa have also been given a fresh injection of impetus by the return to fitness ahead of schedule of £12million summer signing Stewart Downing. Young said: "There were times last season when I felt tired going into games. "With the squad and the depth we've got now, if someone is tired or carrying a knock, then you can afford to rest them. "When the team is winning and doing well, I am not sure the manager likes to change it too much. "But sometimes it is circumstances that has made it happen at times and we are stronger this season to go all the way. "Hopefully you won't see a tail end like last season and we'll be strong all the way through." Young, who has just returned to fitness after a lengthy lay-off, admits it can be hard for players to come to terms with rotation. But he insists the current squad is happy to accept such a scenario because of the unity within its ranks. He said: "I think if the manager does it (rotation) week in and week out, you sort of accept it a bit more but I think you can feel like you are dropped if the manager makes changes. "But, at the moment it is a very united squad, and everyone wants everyone to do well and if Habib Beye was playing instead of me, I'd be wanting him to do well. "It is that kind of environment at the moment. Hopefully that will take us all the way through the season." Once again Villa's star performer was James Milner who looked equally at home in a central midfield role as when he plays as a wide player. Young said: "I can't speak highly enough of him. He is one of those players who deserves everything he gets. "He works so hard on the training pitch, exactly as he does on a match day, and he deserves everything he gets at the moment. "At the minute on form, he should definitely be on the plane to the World Cup in South Africa with England."