Milner’s form thrills O’Neill

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill praised his goalscoring midfielders after watching his side clinch an impressive 4-2 Carling Cup quarter-final victory at Portsmouth.

James Milner, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing all got on the scoresheet, with another England star, Emile Heskey, also finding the net at Fratton Park.

O'Neill was ecstatic after the win, saying:"I thought James (Milner) played terrifically well. Not only did he score the goal, but it was a great performance.

"It didn't cause me undue concern because James can play in there, Ashley Young can play in there and overall these players who can deal with the ball can play in these positions.

"Stewart Downing can play left or right and he can also play off the centre-forward, so I never really got too concerned about it.

"Stewart was fantastic. He isn't really properly fit yet. He had 20 minutes against Burnley and nothing against Tottenham on Saturday night but I was always going to start him tonight.

"I was really pleased and delighted with him and he scored a goal.

"What pleased me most about him? I think it's his ability on the ball. He can manoeuvre it, he can play it, he's got a turn of pace and, when he's fully wound up, he'll be a proper asset to us.

"He's gone in at the back post to head a goal, which he says himself is pretty unusual, but I think when properly fit he will be a proper player for us."

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