Agbonlahor plays down his part in Villa success
The infamous “We wanna be together” advert for Prudential which lampooned the Birmingham accent has been an annoying cross to bear for Brummies for many years.
However, that was the precisely the message Aston Villa’s homegrown hero Gabriel Agbonlahor was eager to put across following Martin O’Neill’s team’s 2-0 victory at Arsenal on Saturday.
Agbonlahor, who possesses the strongest Midlands twang in the Villa dressing room, deservedly took much of the acclaim following their first league success on Gunners territory since 1993.
The England hopeful pressurised Gael Clichy into scoring an own goal for the opener, scored the second himself and provided Villa’s attacking platform at the Emirates.
Agbonlahor also demonstrated his willingness to track back and carry out defensive duties, including a brilliant recovery run to dispossess Theo Walcott in the first-half.
Villa’s Erdington-born striker, however, prefers to praise the contribution of his team-mates and the ‘all-for-one’ mentality in the dressing room.
“It’s not really about me scoring,” said Agbonlahor, who revealed Villa took inspiration from Hull’s surprise success at the Emirates earlier in the season.
“The whole performance of the team was brilliant. The defence and the midfield worked so hard and deserve a lot of credit.
“It is one of the best feelings I have had in a Villa shirt.
“Hull showed they could come to the Emirates and get something so we knew it was a game we could come and win.
“We knew we could upset the form-book.
“I really thought the team were awesome - they deserve a lot of credit. We worked so hard for each other.”
The 22-year-old took his tally to eight for the season in all competitions with his strike on Saturday, a scoring streak which has earned him an England call for Wednesday’s Germany friendly.
“I was delighted to score,” he added. “I had a few chances that I could have done better with earlier on in the game.
“When the ball came to me and I got through I thought I would just hit it as hard as I could. Luckily, it flew in.
“For the first goal, I knew the area Ashley would put the ball in, so I looked to attack that.
“It came off Gael Clichy and went in for an own-goal. But I think if he hadn’t headed it, I would have been there to nod home.”
Manager O’Neill believes Villa’s improvement during his time at the helm has been reflected by the rapid progress the club’s academy graduate Agbonlahor has made.
“It has been exemplified by Gabby Agbonlahor,” added O’Neill.
“Two years on he’s a top quality centre forward. He can hold it up, he gets his body there, he’s strong, he’s quick and then when he’s a chance of one on ones he’s very very dangerous.
“That’s the sort of progress that we’re trying to make and I think that that’s important.”