By Chris Wright
From a home perspective, the good news seems to be that Vicente Del Bosque is going to give some of his ‘second string’ a run out against England at Wembley on Saturday afternoon. The depressingly bad news being that most of said second string would probably, nay definitely, meander straight into Fabio Capello’s first XI. Silva, Mata, Torres, Llorente, Cazorla, Fabregas…
As for jolly old England, it seems like Capello has been afforded with the opportunity to implement a re-jig or two, with a couple of his big names absent for varying reasons and the game itself having little of real significance riding on it. Personally speaking, here’s hoping that one of the re-jigs in question sees a start handed to Gabriel Agbonlahor, a striker who – according to the brass tacks football stats – bloody well deserves his chance, given his superb form at Villa so far this season.
The peaks and troughs remain, but the once-gaping chasm between his twin attributes of full-back-stripping pace and instinctive, ‘twitch fibre’ finishing (the more thought that was required, the higher the chances of a botch) is gradually being filled in as the rest of his game, both physical and cerebral, develops. Confidence is king, but when he’s on song, he’s downright unplayable.
Agbonlahor managed just three goals and a single assist throughout his dismal 2010/11, eventually fading from the first-team scene without a fight under Gerard Houllier. He blamed Houllier’s resolute indifference, the