Aston Villa supporters all have their own opinions on Gabriel Agbonlahor. Some regard him as a legend who has lived the dream we can only think about while others will say he wasted a great opportunity while wearing the famous Claret and Blue.
Agbonlahor grew up around 4 miles from Villa Park in Erdington supporting the club he went on to play for. In his recent video interview with the official website, he looked back on his career with the following description: “The lad from Erdington, who had a dream to play for Aston Villa. I look back and think I made a lot of mistakes which normal people do and I look back and think I fulfilled my dream”.
It is hard to argue with what he says. No-one is perfect regardless of what we like to think of ourselves and we all make mistakes every day of our lives. The difference for Gabby was he was in the spotlight with the media and an enormous fan base watching on.
We could talk about some of the negatives but I would like to think there have been as many if not more positives over the 13 years he has been on the front line. He has made records that some turn there nose up at but no other Villa player during his time has come close to breaking those records.
Agbonlahor made his Premier League debut on 18 Match 2006 at 19 years old, under manager David O’Leary. Due to injuries in the squad, the manager was forced to look to the youth squad in a game against Everton, giving Gabby his first start. He scored after 63 minutes in a game that Villa went on to lose 4-1. He went on to make a further 8 appearances that season.
The following season, under a different manager in Martin O’Neill he was played on the left wing allowing him to cut inside and he went on to score 10 goals in 42 appearances that season.
His most successful season came under O’Neill in the 2009-10 season where he scored 16 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions.
Agbonlahor will be best known for his goals in the local derbies against the other side of the City. It is no coincidence that the other side will be happy to see the back of him.
Despite being called up a few times for England he didn’t actually make his debut for his country until 19 November 2008 in a game against Germany. The Erdington-born player played for 76 minutes, had a goal disallowed and received high praise from Chelsea and England captain at the time, John Terry, describing him as “a nightmare to play against.”
If Agbonlahor was to relive his Aston Villa career I am sure he would do some things differently but he can’t and he will leave Villa at the end of the season an go on to new things. Potentially in football, who knows?
Whether you believe the rumours or not of Agbonlahor having offers from other clubs, he has played at Villa his whole career. There are not many players in this day and age who can say the same.
I would just like to thank Gabby Agbonlahor for his service to Aston Villa and wish him the very best in the future for himself and his family. As I have already touched upon, no-one is perfect and we all make mistakes.