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McAndrew's pride at seeing all-academy midfield line-up at Wigan

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McAndrew's pride at seeing all-academy midfield line-up at Wigan

By Paul Brown

Youth team coach Tony McAndrew has spoken of his pride at seeing Villa's quality academy quartet shine against Wigan.

Villa's midfield at the DW Stadium was made up entirely of starlets who have made their way through the youth team ranks at Bodymoor Heath.

Gary Gardner and Barry Bannan excelled in the middle with Marc Albrighton and Gabby Agbonlahor flying down the wings.

As an added bonus for McAndrew, Agbonlahor was skipper on the day, an honour bestowed on the 26-year-old by boss Alex McLeish for his claret and blue longevity.

McAndrew was delighted to see the academy line-up across the centre and said it offered the ultimate incentive for his current fresh-faced youngsters.

He said: "If that doesn't inspire these young lads they should be working somewhere else and doing something else.

"It just goes to show it's possible.

"Look at Gary Gardner. He has a bad injury a year ago and see where he is now. Everything is possible if you work hard and get a bit of luck.

"Getting young players through to the first team is the only thing that matters to us in the academy, bringing these lads through into the seniors.

"Yes we have injuries to some of the senior lads but the gaffer doesn't mind putting these youngsters in. He knows they can do a job for him."

McAndrew was thrilled to see his own side emerge with enormous credit this weekend following an amazing 2-2 draw with table-toppers Reading.

The U18s played the entire second half with ten men after the dismissal of Umit Eminoglu but it didn't stop them pushing for a late equaliser, which they managed following a Brad Lewis header.

McAndrew added: "I asked them how it felt and they said it was great. I told them 'don't forget that feeling.'

"The performance, if you keep repeating that level, you'll get more of those feelings.

"And then I told them to imagine doing that and feeling that in front of 40,000 at Villa Park. That's the aim."

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By @AVFCOfficial 28th February 2012
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