Texas Tour 2014: Agbonlahor hailed as club development example
Gabby Agbonlahor is the shining example of in-house football development.
That's the verdict of FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja, who hailed Agbonlahor progress from academy ace to senior star.
FC Dallas are the No.1 club in the USA - ahead of the 18 other top-flight sides - for youth progress, with 11 players from its own academy system being signed to professional contracts.
Pareja is proud of this statistic and believes Villa are leading lights for the same approach in the Barclays Premier League.
He said: "Gabby Agbonlahor is a good example of how clubs should be working.
"He has been their leading scorer on several occasions - and is their all-time Barclays Premier League hitman - having come out of Villa's academy programme.
"He is also one of the club's most influential players - and someone the fans look up to.
"The progress from academy to seniors is the same idea we are trying to succeed with here in Dallas.
"His progress - and that of others - says a lot of good things about the formation of players within their club.
"We all obviously know Brad Guzan too. He is a good example of an US player - who was born and developed in our back yard - now playing for this prestigious team."
Pareja also hailed his opposite number Paul Lambert on the eve of the game.
He added: "I know Paul was a good Scottish player who represented his country at the highest levels.
"As a coach, I followed his success at Norwich. He did a wonderful job there.
"I don't have any doubt that he deserves to continue growing in his career.
"For me, it is an honour to have him here in Frisco, Texas - and face him.
"For the players and the coaches, we're delighted.
"Paul has showed a fierce will to win during his journey, in his career. The way the path has been for him says a lot about his character and his will to win."
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