Martin O’Neill hailed the performances of Aston Villa’s young guns after being forced to rely on reserves and youth-teamers for their friendly victory over Peterborough.
Villa ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against the Championship newcomers at London Road on Saturday afternoon after including eight senior players and 13 academy graduates.
O’Neill is keen to add to his squad before Villa fly out to Spain for the Peace Cup on Thursday, although his current lack of options does give his younger players more opportunities.
Barry Bannan, Marc Albrighton and Andreas Weimann all started on Saturday and they could be given another chance in tomorrow evening’s friendly at Colchester United.
“Some of the younger players in the side did exceptionally well and I am particularly pleased about that,” said O’Neill after goals from Weimann, Curtis Davies and Steve Sidwell clinched victory.
“Although I have to say I wasn’t surprised at their performances because they have shown this ability over the last couple of seasons.
“I am delighted for them and delighted they are desperately trying to break into the first team.
“It was really refreshing to see Barry, Marc and Andreas combine for that first goal.
“That was from three boys who have exactly no Premier League experience between them at all. It was very encouraging.”
O’Neill described Saturday’s match as a good run out for his players even though they were put under intense pressure by Darren Ferguson’s team in the opening stages.
“Overall, we had some pretty scary moments early on in the game,” he added. “Peterborough could and should have gone ahead in that period. We had ridden our luck by the time our first goal arrived but I thought we settled down and played not badly at all after that.
“I thought we did better in the second half. We managed to get all the players on the field too – some got more time than others – and we’re now looking forward to Colchester on Tuesday.”
Villa’s England Under-21 trio Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner and Craig Gardner will not resume training until the start of August after being given extra recovery time following their involvement in the European Championships in Sweden.
Senior internationals John Carew, Ashley Young, Emile Heskey, Stiliyan Petrov, Brad Guzan and Moustapha Salifou are scheduled to report back today and unlike their Under-21 colleagues will fly out for Peace Cup duty later this week.
n?Liverpool slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Rapid Vienna in their latest pre-season friendly in Austria last night.
Rapid skipper Steffen Hofmann netted the only goal with a second half free-kick.