When asked of the secret behind the success of the Villa academy Gabby stated:
“The attitude of the players, the coaching staff and the youth development team has been pivotal in the success of our academy.
“We are just beginning to see the next batch of players coming into the first team now with the likes of Marc Albrighton, Ciaran Clark and Barry Bannan, so long may it continue.”
When questioned on his biggest influence during his upbringing at Villa he added:
“Steve Burns, who is the assistant academy director at Villa. He has been at the club since I started and he helped me a lot during my time in the youth team.
“Steve was also the one who spotted me when I was playing junior football, so I have got a lot to thank him for in terms of my career.”
“Year by year you get more experience and I think that’s helped me improve as a player more than anything.
“When you first make your debut you are a bit nervous, but that obviously subsides over time and allows you to develop your game. I scored on my debut, which we ended up losing 4-1 at Everton, but since then the Premier League has got harder, as you can tell by this season’s table, so you are continually required to perform, and the experience helps.
“Ultimately I just look to take each game as it comes and try to perform as best I can.”
On opting for England over Scotland and Nigeria:
“England is where I was born so it was a natural choice to choose them. I’ve been a bit unlucky when it comes to appearances though.
“When I’ve had call-ups I’ve had little injuries and I wasn’t risked, so that has got in the way a bit and that’s why I’ve had to pull out of the latest squad (for the games against Wales and Ghana).”
“Even just winning one cap would have been fantastic, so I’m not going to sniff at getting three so far, and I still have a long time ahead of me.
“I will never forget my first game though. Finding out I was to start against Germany for my debut was hugely exciting, but the nerves were obviously there seeing as I was representing my country.
“That game, alongside my Villa debut and scoring against Birmingham City, is definitely right at the top of my career highlights. I’m now just looking forward to getting the opportunity to pull on the shirt again.”
On his commitment to Villa and future aspirations:
“At the moment I am just focusing on getting games in and playing more and more for Villa. I definitely see myself as a one-club man, which I feel is important, and hopefully I have the chance to continue here long into the future.
“I signed a new contract recently and if it was up to me I would stay at Villa Park for the rest of my career, so I hope that’ll be the case.”
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