Aston Villa winger Ashley Young confirmed his status as the Barclays Premier League's own modern-day highwayman with another smash-and-grab raid on his opponents on Saturday.

The youngster, who has just notched up his first full season since arriving at Villa Park in a £9 million move from Watford last January, has been instrumental in providing the crosses, free-kicks and corners which have created exactly half of the 40 goals Villa have scored so far this season.

The 22-year-old regularly stays behind in training sessions to practise his crosses - a habit he picked up in his youth days at Vicarage Road, and a practice which he claimed has helped his game at Villa.

And while Young is hoping for another England call-up next month under new international manager Fabio Capello, he insists he is concentrating on his career with Villa, believing if that works, then England will follow.

Young said: "Obviously we work on set pieces, and they have been a vitally important part of our season. Hopefully the boys will keep scoring from them if I can keep providing the crosses and the delivery."

Young insisted he did not expect plaudits from his team-mates for his service - as long as they keep scoring from his deliveries, then he will be happy.

He said: "I just want to try to keep this up. I am always practising, always learning, always wanting to get better. I find if I practise in training and then try to put it into practice on the field that it tends to work, and if the boys then get on the end of my crosses and score, that is a bonus as well."

Young said he felt he had now settled under O'Neill, and, as far as supporters are concerned, he is certainly justifying the hefty price tag which came with the youngster last year.

He said: "I am more settled now than I was a year ago. Our position in the league now shows that we believe we can get into Europe, but we will take each game as it comes, and, come the end of the season, hopefully we will be in a European position.''

Young was full of praise for Villa defender Martin Laursen, who is now the club's second-highest scorer, behind Gabriel Agbonlahor, and level with six-goal man John Carew.

Young said: "Martin, as you can see, is superb. I think he is so strong, and could liter-ally run through a brick wall. He has done really well. People like him and John and Olof and Zat (Knight) are big boys, and when they go forward they always look like scoring.

''That's what I'm here for: to try and provide good deliveries, and hopefully I can keep doing that, and if they can keep scoring, that is all the reward I need. Even if I don't set one up or score but Villa win, then I am happy.''

Young, who will find out in the next couple of weeks if Capello wants his services for the nation's friendly with Switzerland on February 5 at Wembley, said he was hoping to get a call-up, but was concentrating on Villa for now.

He said: "I am concentrating on my league football, and I think if I play well for my club, then England will take care of itself. I hope to be picked, but I am just concentrating on things here.

"I don't want to say I'm in the best form of my career yet, because hopefully I will have a long career."

Young's delivery service drew praise from his manager, O'Neill, after the game, as he saw the youngster provide a corner and a free-kick to give Villa a two-goal lead.

He said: "The way Ashley delivers, even I could score! He came to us a year ago and has taken the whole season by storm. He has been quite fantastic when you consider his all-round game. He can pick up the ball and go for 60 yards, he can deliver from open play and from dead ball, he is fantastic.

"He has even put on weight! Seriously, he is so slim, we could put him through a letterbox, but he will soon be up to three-and-a-half stone - he and Agbonlahor!"