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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 24, 2007

Prospect of O'Neill key in luring Young to Villa

Ashley Young admitted the prospect of Martin O'Neill guiding his career was a major factor in his decision to join Aston Villa from Watford.

Young has put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year contract worth around £30,000 a week plus bonuses, which will quadruple the wages he was being paid by the Hornets.

O'Neill was delighted to spend American owner Randy Lerner's money on the £9.65million deal for the 21 year old.

And Young, who turned down a move to West Ham earlier this month, said: 'The manager is one of the best in the country and I'm looking forward to playing under him.

'I've met the manager before and the way he came across in our talks made him someone I wanted to play for. He has real enthusiasm and he gets the best out of his players. Hopefully he can do the same for me.'

Young also revealed Villa's exciting squad of youngsters played a part in his decision.

'There's a lot of ability here and a good mix. We've got a lot of young players who have done well, but some experience as well. I just want to get in and gel with the boys,' he told the club's website, avfc.co.uk.

'I already know Gabby Agbonlahor from when he came on loan to Watford last year and we've been away together with the England Under-21s as well, so we've got a good understanding already.'

Villa are paying an initial £8million but, with add-ons based on appearances and winning an England cap, he could become the club's record signing, surpassing the £9.5million paid for Juan Pablo Angel six years ago.

O'Neill said: 'I'm delighted Ashley has agreed to come to us. He can play both flanks and he can play alongside the centre-forward.

'I think he is an exciting player and has got a great touch, great control, plus a wee bit of pace. I am excited with his signing for us.

'I have seen a lot of him and I have backed my judgement. I think he will prove to be terrific value.

'He is only a young fellow and it will be hard to put him under the sort of pressure where he is having to justifying himself from minute one, but overall I have no doubt at all he is good enough.

'I know his potential but it is different knowing the potential of a player and what they eventually go on to achieve. I believe he has the ability to go on and achieve things.'

Villa have a blank weekend after their FA Cup exit so Young is expected to make his debut in the Barclays Premiership clash at Newcastle on January 31.