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Thursday, November 10, 2011
Capello considering starting Agbonlahor

Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor is in line to start up front for England alongside club team-mate Darren Bent when Fabio Capello's side take on Spain on Saturday.

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Agbonlahor, 25, has been in fine form for Villa this season - scoring five goals and contributing four assists - and could be rewarded with a starting berth at Wembley.

With Wayne Rooney and Bent the only strikers currently pencilled in for a place on the plane to next summer's European Championship in Ukraine and Poland, the friendly against the world champions could provide Agbonlahor with a fantastic opportunity to stake a claim to a spot in Capello's squad.

With Capello likely to select one of Andrew Carroll, Bobby Zamora or Peter Crouch, Agbonlahor faces a battle against the likes of Jermain Defoe, Daniel Sturridge, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck for a place at Euro 2012.

An England insider told ESPNsoccernet: "Fabio has the opportunity to try out young players who need experience at the highest level, and the manager also has the chance to experiment with shapes of this team formation.

"There is no doubt that Fabio likes Agbonlahor. He is a 'strange' player for Fabio, in the sense that he likes his qualities, he is fast and dangerous, bit perhaps in the past he cannot be 'trusted' to produce that danger on a consistent level, but he is currently on good form.

"I am sure that Fabio would like to see him and there is every chance he might even start with him against Spain because of his club link with Darren Bent."

Bent, has established himself as an England regular under Capello and he believes that his strike partner at Villa is ready to step up to the international plate.

"Gabby has been brilliant all season" Bent said. "He's got pace, power and he seems more confident this season - credit to him. He's gone away, he's worked hard and it's paying dividends this season. He's scoring goals and playing well.

"He's definitely up there with some of the other English strikers in the Premier League form-wise and what will help is that he can play in a number of positions. He can play behind a front man, too. Rooney is going to be out for the first three games, there's no reason why Gabby can't play in there.

"He's been in there for us. He drifts off to the left and crossed for my third from the right. When you have someone with that out-and-out pace, it's a really dangerous weapon to have. No-one on the planet can do much about his pace. He's got it in abundance. He can unlock doors others can't open and it's a fantastic weapon to have in the team.'

Agbonlahor has won three previous caps for England, impressing on his debut against Germany before appearing in a 2-0 friendly defeat to Spain in 2009 and a World Cup qualifying victory over Belarus.




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