Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has quipped that big John Carew should be allowed out on the tiles every night before a big game if he continues to turn in performances such as he did against Wigan Athletic in the 4-0 win at the JJB Stadium on Sunday.
The giant Norwegian striker re-ingratiated himself with the Villa fans after coming off the bench to score his sixth goal of the season and set up a goal for Gabriel Agbonlahor.
His efforts won back the fans who had been disappointed that he broke a club curfew ahead of the Uefa Cup group opener against Dutch giants Ajax by staying out at a city lap-dancing club until the early hours before the game.
Bulgarian international Petrov said: “I think we should let John go out every night if he plays like that! He should go lap dancing more often! We don’t worry about each other’s private lives, to be honest. It is what is done on the pitch that matters.
“But it does make me think that whatever John is doing seems to be working for him! He is a star player, as he showed coming off the bench to score. It was great. We all motivate ourselves in different ways and maybe that is his way!”
Slightly less impressed with the whole issue was skipper Martin Laursen although he also said he was convinced that Carew would learn from the incident which drew the wrath of manager Martin O’Neill.
Carew’s behaviour in visiting the late night Rocket Club on Broad Street certainly raised a few eyebrows and the Villa skipper was amongst those convinced the incident was out of character.
O’Neill has himself conceded that Carew had some mitigating circumstances for his night out although his excuse that he did not think he was due to play did not stop the Villa boss slapping a £100,000 fine – equating to two weeks wages – on his joint top scorer of the season so far.
Laursen said of Carew: “I was surprised he behaved like that. I don’t think he was in the club for so long and I don’t think he was there after midnight from what he has said – that is just my own personal view.
“But he shouldn’t do that before a game. He should not take one step inside that club because that was wrong and that is not how we do things the day before a game.
“Even though he perhaps knew he was not going to play, he knew that he should have been with us at the hotel.”
Laursen, who put in another sterling performance at centre-back for Villa on Sunday, added: “It is not a good way to do something. You don’t do that, at the end of the day but I think he has realised that and I don’t think he will ever do that again.”
If the skipper has forgiven Carew, then so have the Villa faithful who sang and chanted Carew’s name throughout the game and even came up with a few witty rhymes about his exploits.
Laursen said: “The fans know John’s actions were nothing to do with his dedication to Aston Villa. He is a very serious footballer and he wants to do well. He is always going to be a great player for us so we don’t be want to be without him – not at all.
“When he didn’t play, the fans were singing for him and I loved their cheeky songs. They love him and he is forgiven.”