Aston Villa news

Agbonlahor lukewarm on Houllier appointment

September 19, 2010

The jury would appear to be out on new Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier if the remarks of Gabriel Agbonlahor are anything to go by.

Ashley Young
PA PhotosAshley Young applauded Kevin MacDonald after his goal against Bolton

Agbonlahor appeared reluctant to offer any kind of endorsement of Houllier, who watched Villa's 1-1 draw with Bolton from the directors' box alongside new assistant Gary McAllister.

That is despite Houllier's enviable managerial record that includes winning French league titles with Paris St Germain and twice with Lyon, as well as the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup (again twice) with Liverpool.

The Frenchman takes over from Kevin MacDonald, who has spent the last six weeks in caretaker charge following the departure of Martin O'Neill.

When asked whether Agbonlahor was impressed by Houllier's CV and if he was looking forward to working with him, he said: "Next question."

Agbonlahor was pressed for an answer, to which he replied: "If you look at his record at Liverpool, what he has done, what he has won, obviously we're looking forward.

"It's hard to say anything because Kev (MacDonald) has done so well, but times change and we'll be looking forward to training with the new manager."

It is clear there is an affinity towards MacDonald, highlighted by Ashley Young's celebrations after opening the scoring with a superb 24-yard free-kick in the 13th minute.

After seeing the ball ripple the net, Young turned and pointed towards an applauding MacDonald before racing over to the Scot standing on the touchline and giving him an embrace, with several other players joining in.

Asked whether there was any sadness MacDonald had not been offered the role on a permanent basis, Agbonlahor added: "It's hard to say that.

"We don't want to discuss that now because there is a new manager in charge, so we have to look forward to that and be happy with what Kev did for us.

"He'll still be around so we'll still be able to see him and thank him, but I think you could see by the goal, how everyone celebrated, that it shows how well we've enjoyed working with him. He's been a good manager."

The uncertainty is behind everyone at the club after six weeks in limbo, which is a positive, even according to Agbonlahor.

"It has been frustrating not knowing what was going on, but at least now we know and we can look forward to the future," he added. "We're just going to get our heads down as a team because we want to try and impress the new manager.

"We don't know what he knows about us, so hopefully it will be a fresh start for everyone in the squad. We'll see what ideas he has and what training will be like, and we'll take it from there."