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Villa Lions Roar
Dan Harrison discusses Villa's England connection.
13th Nov 2009
Villa Lions Roar

Readers of avfc.co.uk may have thought they'd mistakenly reached the official website of the England team at times this week. But for that, we make no apology.

The club-over-country members of the claret and blue community will understandably view the Three Lions' latest friendly with a little trepidation. And there is not a manager in the Barclays Premier League that hasn't moaned about the quirks of international calendar until they are blue in the face.

However, after another ringing endorsement of our players arrived from FA headquarters, we felt every reason to go nuts for the Brazil clash.

Once again Villa have made a considerable contribution to the England party. This is something to celebrate. Because we know when Martin O'Neill eulogises over James Milner, it is not just the opinion of a manager looking to boost the confidence of his player - it is a view shared by Fabio Capello.

Because Ashley Young is one of those rare gems in modern football that possess the sheer menace and unpredictability that gets people off their seats.

Because Stephen Warnock has provided inspiration to those on the fringes who may have felt their chance to earn a place on football's grandest stage had come too late. Get your head down and perform, and Capello will take note.

A fit Emile Heskey would have probably made it a quartet of Villa call-ups - a forward who Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney have, in the past, described as their ideal partner. There can be no bigger compliment.

Let's not forget Gabby Agbonlahor, who can't be ignored if he keeps up his current strike rate.

Of course, all this is nothing new. Capello has been a regular observer at Villa Park since his reign began - and Villa's English stars have seen their efforts handsomely rewarded.

But as the World Cup draws nearer, the selections of the England boss bear greater significance. And the imposing Italian isn't the type to drag his troops thousands of miles around the world for a pointless training exercise. It is business time.

There are many supporters who developed a state of disillusionment over the years when it came to our national side - myself included. The anti-climaxes, dire friendlies and the excruciating effort exerted to get past considerably weaker opponents.

Capello's stewardship has gone some way to changing that attitude. But above all, our Villa heroes are giving us an even stronger reason to get excited about England again.


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