Gabby Agbonlahor on Aston Villa: Transfer message to Man Utd claim and ‘not good’ criticism

What Gabby Agbonlahor has said about Aston Villa so far this season.

Steven Gerrard has Aston Villa on the up after a difficult start to the season.

The Claret and Blue are still far from perfect, something proven by defensive lapses of late, but things have significantly improved.

Relegation no longer feels like the big threat it was earlier this season, and Gerrard seems to have injected just the right amount of life.

But what has club hero Gabriel Agbonlahor thought of Villa’s ups and downs so far this season?

Here we round-up the former striker’s thoughts on all the key topics so far.

Newcastle defeat (February)

Villa suffered a setback last week when they lost to strugglers Newcastle United, and Agbonlahor was not impressed.

“From the first whistle, they were at it while Aston Villa were very, very slow. When you’re going to St. James’ Park now you can’t start off slow,” he told talkSPORT.

“Gerrard needs to freshen it up a little bit, rotate a few players because some of the players look very, very leggy.

“He knows a lot of those players have been playing a lot of football. When you’ve got quality players on the bench, I’m sure Gerrard will turn to them.

“When you put a performance like that up at Newcastle, anyone in that starting XI should be worried about being dropped.

“It’s easy to point at Watkins. I’ve played in that position up front on your own and if you don’t get the service it can be very, very tough.

“Watkins has never been that physical striker who can hold the ball up, he’s going to need the right service feeding him in the hole.

“Villa fans can be quick to jump on players' back. They are forgetting that this is the same Watkins that broke onto the scene at Aston Villa and did really well.

“I think they should stick with Watkins and give him a chance. There is no better game for him to get his goal then against Watford.”

Trezeguet (February)

Trezeguet hasn’t impressed Agbonlahor of late.

“I said this two years ago, Trezeguet is not good enough for Aston Villa,” the former striker told Football Insider.

“He’s an honest player who works hard but he’s very erratic. When he gets on the ball, he’ll put the wrong cross in and shoot at the wrong times.

“I’ve been saying it for a couple of years, Trezeguet is not good enough for where Aston Villa want to go. Steven Gerrard will have worked that out over the past few months.

“He’s never going to get you the goals and assists that you need if you’re trying to get into the top-six.

“He’s scored some important goals for Villa and the fans will always hold him in high regard.#

“But he’s not the player Villa need, he’s just not good enough.

“It’s a shame for the likes of Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi. Gerrard will want better players who are going to take this club to the next level, he won’t want to stay still. I don’t think Trezeguet will play for Villa again.”

Luis Suarez talk (January)

After the shock signing of Philippe Coutinho, Agbonlahor wanted another former Liverpool star.

Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: “Even when Steven Gerrard mentioned it to the chief executive, he probably thought, "really? You can get that over the line?

'Gerrard is probably like, "yeah, he's my mate. Give me one second and I'll give him a call."

'This is no Mickey Mouse ex-footballer – this is Steven Gerrard, one of England and Liverpool's greatest ever players.

“He is going to have the most amazing relationship with the likes of Coutinho. Go and get Suarez next. Us Villa fans, we aren't stopping.”

Jacob Ramsey (January)

Young star Jacob Ramsey has been one of the jewels for Villa this season, and unsurprisingly, Agbonlahor is thrilled with his progress.

“Jacob Ramsey, for me, is getting better every game and is looking more confident.

“That’s what happens when you’re 20-years-old, you’re learning every game, you’re taking on advice every game, you’re learning from the players you play against.

“He’s a standout player at the moment. I’m sure having a midfielder like Steven Gerrard as your manager is only going to help.

“If you look at Gareth Southgate’s history you don’t need to be doing well in the Premier League for four years. Kalvin Phillips was doing well for a season in the Championship and got called up.

“If Ramsey continues to improve at the rate he is and is playing at the levels that he is, why not? The World Cup’s 10 months away, why can’t he look to break into that England side?

“I love the way he’s thinking about that, he’s not just settling for being in the Under-21s.”

Man Utd claim (January)

Villa a bigger draw than Manchester United? That’s what Agbonlahor predicted earlier this year.

“John McGinn should stay at Aston Villa and never think about going to Manchester United,” he said.

“I believe that come the summer, what Aston Villa are looking at, you would rather sign for Aston Villa than Manchester United this summer.

“Manchester United are going down and Aston Villa are on the way up.”

Initial Gerrard impact (November)

Speaking about Gerrard’s initial impact at Villa Park, Agbonlahor told Football Insider: “The biggest thing that stood out for me was the players looked like they were giving a bit more.

“Sometimes, and it happened to me under managers, you can get a bit complacent and settled in your position.

“The team against Man City, Leicester and Brighton, they all look like players fighting for their position.

“Even the likes of McGinn and Mings, all these players know they have to keep performing because there’s so much quality ready and waiting.

“You’ve got Axel Tuanzebe and Kortney Hause, you’ve got Sanson who’s looked lively when he’s come on.

“The players look like a group who know the manager will drop them if they are not up to standards and the work rate he demands.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Villa’s running stats are higher because they are leaving everything on the pitch. Some of them are putting in crazy shifts.

“With the intensity that they are playing at, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of squad rotation in the next month because it looks like it’s going to be very demanding.”

Gerrard aim (November)

Gerrard was set an early aim by Agbonlahor, who told talkSPORT: "I think he just needs to go in there, get these players playing, get the new signings firing, and just try and finish the season in the top 10.

"I think Aston Villa fans would take top 10 at the moment, and then next season push on again.

"Maybe he'll be able to bring in a couple of players, maybe change a couple of players, probably get rid of a few players, and start looking to get Villa into that top six. That's what the owners want.

"They're bringing Gerrard in, that will be the plan over the next two or three years. Challenging to get into European places."

MARCH VISIT: For Steven Gerrard, above, and Aston Villa to face Leeds United at Elland Road. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images.MARCH VISIT: For Steven Gerrard, above, and Aston Villa to face Leeds United at Elland Road. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images.
MARCH VISIT: For Steven Gerrard, above, and Aston Villa to face Leeds United at Elland Road. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images.

Smith sacking (November)

Dean Smith’s sacking split opinion back in November, and Agbonlahor believed the fan favourite should have had more time.

“I think he deserved more time,” he told website Football Insider.

“I actually felt this would happen when Spurs sacked Nuno Espirito Santo. They were five points ahead of us when they sacked him.

“I had a feeling the board would see that and then see where Villa are. The Southampton game was the last chance. If they had won that game, I think he would have been fine.

“Sometimes, clubs are too quick to panic. Dean Smith would have got the job done. He’s been unlucky with injuries."