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By ESPN Staff

Agbonlahor will sacrifice gym for pace

Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has reached a compromise with manager Gerard Houllier after being told his increased weight training was affecting his explosive pace.

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Agbonlahor has bulked up considerably in the past 12 months after his new found love with the gym. Houllier fears that has affected Agbonlahor's quickness and he has endured an injury-hit first half of the campaign.

Agbonlahor can see the manager's viewpoint but also does not want to trim down completely. The England player said: "I can see where the manager is coming from, of course, but I think I was the same last season and that was my best season at Villa.

"I think maybe if I trimmed down and became how I was when I first broke into the team then I might lose an element to my game. If I start to get bullied by defenders people will then say I am not strong enough for the Premier League so you can't win either way. But it is about getting that balance. I feel fine and as sharp and fast as I ever have.''

Meanwhile Agbonlahor's strike partner, Emile Heskey, looks like winning his battle to be fit for Sunday's clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Heskey missed the 4-0 drubbing at Manchester City on Tuesday after twisting his ankle against Tottenham on Boxing Day. But the 32-year-old returned to training on Thursday.

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