Kevin Phillips made his name playing off a bean-pole striker at Sunderland in the unmistakable form of Niall Quinn.
And he had another one alongside him last season at Southampton in Peter Crouch.
So what, he was asked, is the essential difference about partnering Milan Baros? ?About three foot,? Phillips said, quick as a flash.
Phillips could afford to smile, given the encouraging way that he and Baros linked up together in the 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Phillips, who set up Baros?s early opener, could only hit the post when the Czech international finally returned the compliment by setting up for a golden chance late on. But the joint menace they provided was enough to keep Juan Pablo Angel chained to the bench for the entire 90 minutes.
?It?s nothing to do with me,? David O?Leary, the Villa manager, said. ?We?ve hardly been able to work with Milan. We?ve only had one session.?
Where O?Leary can take credit is for spotting the potential dove-tailing of two intelligent strikers, with a natural ability to know the whereabouts of their sidekick.
?The players I?ve played with up front before are nowhere near as quick as Milan is,? Phillips said. ?I do my fair share of trying to get in behind, as I?m there to score goals as well. But I?m not as as quick and I tend to drop a bit deeper to try and create. Which looks easy when you?ve got a top quality player like Milan to try and pick out.
?You don?t end up as top scorer at Euro 2004 without having a great pedigree. He showed that. He?s obviously pleased to have got off the mark straight away, the same as I did against Bolton two weeks ago. That burden?s off both our backs now.
?And Milan will get even better as the season goes on. He causes problems every time the ball goes over the top and he?s strong as well. Hopefully we can generate a partnership together.?
Baros too was grateful for the supply line that brought him one goal and another day might have earned him a debut hat-trick.
?Kevin is a great player, as is Angel,? Baros said. ?He gave me a great ball for the goal. It?s a shame he could not take his chance at the other end when I passed to him.
?I think he?s going to score a lot of goals for this club, I hope we both are. But I have no target this season. I just want to do the best for myself and this club. It?s nice to score on your debut, but the most important thing was that we won, and we had enough chances to have won by more.?
?Quality players win you games,? O?Leary said. ? Phillips has shown us the same sort of thing, which is what I expected when I first tried to bring him in two years ago.
?Now the lad Baros has come to us because Patrik Berger has sold him the way we want to play. That we are an attacking team who create chances. And the only disappointment was that we should have won by a mile.
?Milan played really well, especially in the first half. Then he got a bit tired, which we thought he would because he?s hardly played. Just the odd 10 minutes or 15 minutes there. But we kept him on to keep his match fitness up.?
Baros now returns to Eastern Europe with matches for the Czech Republic in Romania next Saturday and at home to Armenia on Wednesday week.