Date: 8th March 2008 at 11:34am
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Martin O’Neill has set Villa forward John Carew a target of 20 goals this season and says that he is a nightmare for defenders to handle when on form.

The former Lyon man is currently on 9 goals for the season but as O’Neill explains, the early part of his season was spoilt by injuries.

‘To see John up to the nine-goal mark is great – and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t go on to become a 20-goals-a-season man. John had a knee injury earlier in the season, and to be a 20-goals-a-season marksman you have to play the requisite number of games. But he should be able to do that and also reach that number of goals, no doubt at all.’

Adding, ‘That’s the sort of thing I’m looking for from him, and I think he’s a miles better player than he thinks he is himself. He’s a nightmare for defenders – but not just with pace, power and presence. He has great ability to get the ball down, manoeuvre and bring people into the game. John is looking for consistency.’

‘You are striving for excellence every game you play. But if you don’t achieve that, you still want to cause a lot of problems to defenders. Ironically, in some of the games I felt John wasn’t as effective as he can be – but opposition managers have said afterwards that he has been a handful all afternoon. He has got the ability – and if he could get increase that consistency factor, there is no reason to stop him being one of the best centre-forwards in Europe.’

According to other reports, he has also picked himself a celebrity WAG in the form (and a very nice form it is if I may be so bold.. or is that so bald?) of Alesha Dixon who used to be in Misteeq (no, I don’t remember them either to be fair) and is now apparently in that awful BBC1 dancing show!