Despite a poor season, England manager Fabio Capello has been impressed by some of the homegrown talent at Villa Park having called up no less than 5 of Gerard Houllier’s squad for the upcoming friendly against Denmark next weekend. Add to this the likes of an initial 4 call-ups for Villa young guns to the Under-21 set up and England’s future begins to look increasingly claret and blue.
The most surprising inclusion is undoubtedly on-loan 20-year-old right-back Kyle Walker, whom Tottenham can take credit for, who earns his first senior call-up after scoring twice in his opening five games at Villa.
Despite showing defensive frailties on occasion, Walker’s confidence on the ball and ability to venture forward, shipping in with the odd goal or two, has attracted the national team coach, with comparisons to the current starting right-back Glen Johnson already being made. Recalls for the likes of Stewart Downing, who has had an impressive first full-season with the club after an injury ravaged start to his career at the club, and Gabby Agbonlahor may also have shocked some.
The Villa forward has been deployed on the wing for the last month or so having hit a baron streak in front of goal, with just one Premier League goal to his name this season, but despite this the 24-year-old is named among the forwards for the Denmark clash. He joins new-signing Darren Bent who is expected to start the game alongside Wayne Rooney after immediately hitting the goal trail since become the club’s record signing from Sunderland last month.
Villa’s final representative in the squad is Ashley Young who will be delighted to have received a call in order to strengthen his continued inclusion in Capello’s mindset and the national team set-up.
Marc Albrighton and Nathan Delfouneso have become regulars in Stuart Pearce’s Under-21 squad but after exciting campaigns, especially for the young winger, they may well be seen as integral members of the country’s youth set-up. Full-back Walker was initially drafted into the under-21s but has since been poached by the senior side. Crocked midfielder Fabian Delph was also named in the squad but has unfortunately had to withdraw having not fully recovered from a cruciate ligament injury.
The senior squad representatives will join the likes of the recently departed Gareth Barry and James Milner, who during their time at Villa stamped their authority on Capello’s squad and have been regulars ever since. It wasn’t long ago that the likes of Barry were constantly overlooked and indeed the entire Villa team in terms of international call-ups, with fans being lucky to see just one of their lads lining up for England but times have changed and things are looking up at Villa Park.
One could argue that Ciaran Clark may well have been in Capello’s thoughts had he not opted to represent the Republic of Ireland and with the likes of Nathan Baker, Gary Gardner et al. coming through, the future really is bright for Villa in terms of future England stars.
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