Date: 10th March 2008 at 3:28pm
Written by:

Martin O’Neill has rubbished reports that Gabby is on a goal drought and it’s effecting his form.

The young strikers, as I’ve often commented, form has been very up and down this season and all excuses aside, he hasn’t been as reliable as people have been making out.

He has now also not found the net this year but remains our second highest scorer this season and in the last few games I think it’s been noted by quite a few people that he is slowly starting to play more like a rounded stiker rather than just a roadrunner who heads for goal at every opportunity.

Despite my criticism of him, I’m for one, very pleased to see that change in his game. There’s no doubting his talent but whilst he remains less clinical in front of goal than others and a one trick pony in effect his career will stall.

In my mind this has been worked on extensively this season so he can become a rounded player with more to him than just pace and whilst he now improves in those areas his goal count will go down for a little.

That doesn’t mean it’s a problem – it’s called development.

He was phenomenal against Arsenal and proved to be a real handful with his pace and his runs, and in doing so created opportunities for others. That’s exactly what a good striker does, if they can’t get in the position themselves, they create the position for others.

That of course doesn’t make as interesting a story in the press though does it when you compare it to Villa starlet in goal drought headlines.

Speaking on the official site, Martin O’Neill responded to these reports using far fewer words than me.

‘Confidence in football is what it is all about and it can make or break you. It can come and go minute by minute, never mind game by game.

‘Players need goals and every centre-forward would say the same. But some players are very confident regardless of what else is happening and Gabby is one of them.

‘I think he has been fantastic for us and he is at the top of his game at the moment and improving all the time which is great for him and Aston Villa.’

Development not drought. Simple as.