I don’t pick them – they’re a bit dodgy but we have to wear them.”
Chances are Gabby Agbonlahor’s boot manufacturers couldn’t care less about his dismissive appraisal of their luminous green boots.
Not now he has decided to abide by their famous slogan and ‘Just Do It’.
Agbonlahor has been just doing it as Villa’s best player this season. While his garish footwear might not be easy on the eye, the highlights those boots are providing certainly are.
His fourth goal of the campaign, smashed in emphatically during the claret and blues’ convincing win over Wigan Athletic last weekend, eclipsed his three-goal total from the whole of last term.
Yet the scoring statistics barely begin to tell the story of the 24-year-old’s rapid progress during the past two months.
Everything Agbonlahor does is rapid. His blistering pace left the Wigan defence chasing shadows on Saturday, with the forward also setting up Darren Bent for the second goal.
It was a contribution not lost on Villa’s record signing, who has been wowed by Agbonlahor’s vast improvement after a season to forget under former manager Gerard Houllier.
“When you have someone with that kind of pace up front it makes the job easier because Gabby is always going to get past people and expose people with his pace,” said Bent.
“It is going to help both of us and the team. I don’t think anyone in the league could keep up with Gabby. He is up there with the quickest of them.
“He can get from point A to point B very quickly. People say the league is about pace and he has that in abundance.
“Difficult times happen to strikers and it happens to all of us. You go through periods when you are not scoring goals and think the world is against you.
“But he has come back this season and I am sure he is not even thinking about it.”
Agbonlahor’s scoring form has been such that he boasts double Bent’s tally of two and only a painful back injury prevented the Brummie from linking up with his club colleague on England duty this week.
Instead of joining Fabio Capello’s squad for tomorrow’s crucial qualifier in Montenegro, Agbonlahor visited a specialist in London to investigate the injury which has been treated with pain-killers during the past few weeks.
Villa’s current longest serving player suggests that given his form he will “be on fire” if medics can get the complaint under control, with Agbonlahor still targeting a place in the Three Lions’ likely Euro 2012 party.
“I was in contention but I’ve had a setback in the last couple of weeks,” said Agbonlahor. “I’ve had a back problem and hopefully I’ll get it fixed during the international break.
“It’s been stopping me in games. I’ve been suffering with pains in my lower back.
“I got a text (from England) saying that I would be in contention but I want to get myself right.
“I’ve still got the pain now and I’m on painkillers. If I can get it sorted, I could be on fire. It comes and goes during the game and that’s why I came off because the pain was too much. But I don’t want to moan about that.
“I’m not getting ahead of myself. The manager, Fabio, knows what I can do. I’ll miss this meet-up, but there’s many more to come before the Euros so I’ll keep working hard for Villa and hopefully get another chance.”
Delighted Villa manager Alex McLeish, having experimented successfully with Agbonlahor alongside Bent in a front two, is confident the No.11 can not only maintain his scorching start, but get even better.
“Gabby was very understanding of Darren’s prowess and fully understood why we were still persevering with Bent through the middle,” said McLeish.
“You’ve got to hold your hand up to that. The guy had scored a lot of goals previously with Sunderland.
“But I’m glad Gabby has shown magnificent fight to get himself into this team because I know he loves Villa.
“I’ve got a gem on my hands if I can keep improving this guy.”