Date: 27th January 2008 at 10:14am
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Martin O’Neill is quoted in the Daily Mail online (Click Here ) today saying that England boss Fabio Capello can’t help but have noticed Ashley Young’s performance against Blackburn and the report suggests he might well be in contention for David Beckham’s place.

The Villa boss said, ‘When we got the ball to Ashley I think Signor Capello would have been pretty impressed with his skills.’

The biggest word there was maybe ‘when’ as he didn’t get enough of the ball and did get bullied out at times due to Blackburn playing with a five man midfield, although his free kick to save us a point was sublime and he so nearly repeated it at the end of the game with another curler, this time going just over. He certainly is a star in the making for Villa and I think that all those that questioned the price paid last January (over £9million) have now been well and truly answered. He was worth every penny and is now worth a good amount more.

Chris Moore, author of the report in the Mail said: The club could get recognition at the highest level even quicker after Ashley Young enhanced his growing reputation in front of new England manager Fabio Capello with a goal of the highest quality to prevent battling Blackburn stunning a packed Villa Park with a win they looked to have in the bag after Roque Santa Cruz deservedly nosed them in front in the 68th minute. Adding, Young will have had Capello, who names his first squad this week, thinking about whether he should challenge David Beckham for a place in next month against Switzerland with a goal straight out of the maestro’s own top drawer of free-kicks.

With the players we have got like Ashley Young, it is clear just what they can do. Now add to the mix some more top quality signings, including a top striker – and yes, break the bank for him if needs be – we could shoot our way into Europe without doubt this season. I’m not totally sure the talk of 4th place is realistic unless we have a very good five days in the transfer window, but who knows, it is afterall, a ‘funny old game’.

Ian Taylor agrees that the Champions League might be a bit too much to hope for but that Villa are back and competing for Europe. The Villa legend told the Official site: ‘There’s no doubt about it – Villa are starting to mix it with the big boys of the Barclays Premier League. I’m not suggesting Martin O’Neill’s men are ready just yet for Champions League football but isn’t it great that they are up there challenging.’ Adding, ‘I think the Champions League might be a step too far but there’s certainly no reason why we shouldn’t be looking forward to UEFA Cup action. And with a few additions to the squad next summer, the lads could really make a bid for Europe’s top competition in 2008-09.’

The gossip is pretty quiet today, some reports and whispers over the last few days have suggested Mellberg will be off to Juventus, if that is the case we can only hope that means we have a right-back incoming, if not it will be between Gary Cahill (unless Bolton or Blues increase their bids for him maybe?) and Craig Gardner. Seems a bit of a risk to me but then, what the heck do I know! :o)

Only rumours I can find today is that Spurs defender Pascal Chimbonda – linked to Villa a week or so back – might be on his way to Sevilla according to the News of the World and The Sunday People say that both Villa and Bolton are wanting to sign Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha, who we were linked with several times last week.