Date: 12th November 2007 at 4:29pm
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Gabriel Agbonlahor said after the 2-1 win over Blues: ‘Being a local lad, it means a lot to me to score in the derby but it was a great overall performance from the lads. It is nice scoring against an arch-rival but the most important thing is we won the game and the character we showed will stand us in good stead for the rest of the season.’

He also said that the Claret and Blue army inspired the team, explaining, ‘When we were warming up, the Villa fans were really loud and that made the lads really want to do even better in the game and showed them how much it means to the fans. Even when we conceded the goal, the fans kept rooting for us and we showed our appreciation at the end by throwing them our shirts.’

Gabby has also come in from some high praise from Villa boss Martin O’Neill and former Gunner and now Sky pundit Alan Smith.

Brummie Smith was impressed with the hot shot striker saying in the Daily Telegraph, he enthused: ‘You can hardly complain that he doesn’t rise to the occasion, that he doesn’t come up trumps in the big games. First an opening goal against Manchester United last month proved Gabriel Agbonlahor possesses a big-match temperament. And now this – the all-important strike in yesterday’s second city derby, a winner against Birmingham that would have tasted so sweet to this Aston Villa fan born just down the road. You could hardly blame him for the wild celebration, a dive into the crowd along with several team-mates for which our good friend, Steve Bennett, flourished a yellow card. No matter. Agbonlahor had proved once again that he has developed into a front runner of real potential.’

He also says that graduation from England U21’s to the full squad can’t be far away. With Shrek of Manchester United now injured, who knows McClaren might come calling very soon?

Meanwhile MON says Gabby is like ‘Stan Collymore at his best’. High praise indeed.

‘I am really pleased with him. He has improved leaps and bounds in the last 15 months. He had a great first season and there is no second season syndrome with him. He has come roaring out this season and is improving all the time. He has a wonderful attitude to the game and is prepared to work. I am very pleased with him and pleased for him. It is a great goal to win the game as was his one against Manchester United. He is doing great.’