Young wants to make England grade
Aston Villa winger Ashley Young has set his sights on becoming an England regular and is confident he could handle the pressure. Young could make a first start at Wembley for his country in Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro. The absence of his former Villa team-mate James Milner through suspension may open the door for Young, who has been in sparkling form this season. Young was first called into the England squad by Steve McClaren three years ago shortly after making a £9million move from Watford to Villa, and has nine caps. It would delight him if he emulates another former Hornets player and winger, John Barnes, by starring for his country. Young said: "I've always had goals and aspirations to play for my country and the day I got the first call-up was the biggest achievement of my career so far. "I've got a certain amount of caps but I'd like to add to them. "I've been in most of the squads and hopefully now I'm doing everything I can to get into the team. "It is a competitive world. It is always nice to have competition and people knocking on the door. "Once you are in the team, you've got to keep playing well otherwise people will come and take your position. "Everyone wants to play and I'm no different. I've got confidence in my ability to do well. "It is down to the manager. He picks the team and I can only keep doing what I've been doing at Villa and keep doing in training and we will have to see on Tuesday." Young was left out of Fabio Capello's squad for the summer trip to South Africa, and admitted: "I was disappointed not to go to the World Cup but that is in the past now. "I've had disappointments before and it is how you react to them. "I've got to look to the future and concentrate on establishing myself more in the squad and then pushing on to get into the team." Young has never lacked confidence during his four years at Villa and believes he could handle playing for England. He said: "I think there is pressure wherever you are, whether it is at Villa or with the national team. "It is the way each individual deals with pressure. I think I can deal with pressure and go out and do a job." Young is full of admiration for Barnes, who left Vicarage Road in 1987 to find fame with Liverpool. He said: "To follow in the footsteps of someone who had played at the same club as yourself is always nice. "It is something to look up and to try to pursue and emulate if possible." Young's trickery, pace and accurate crossing could be a key component against Montenegro who have won their opening three qualifiers. He said: "It is going to be a tough game. They have won the opening three games but we have got to concentrate on ourselves, keep doing what we have done right so far. "If we apply ourselves like in the first two games, we will be able to get that win we need on Tuesday. "The main thing is to be winning. We've got six points and it would be nice to end year with maximum points from three games." Young has echoed the thoughts of Villa manager Gerard Houllier in expecting to thrash out a new contract with the midlands club. He said: "I am delighted with the manager and the new regime and the way things are going. "I've got two years left of my contract and I'm just concentrating on the football side of things and I am sure everything will get sorted."
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