Belfast Telegraph

McLeish wary of 'quality' Silva

Alex McLeish does not expect Aston Villa to gain any advantage from the Carlos Tevez situation at Manchester City, and pinpointed David Silva as the dangerman in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

City could be without Sergio Aguero (abductor strain) and Mario Balotelli (back) against Villa, which would leave Edin Dzeko as the only fit out-and-out striker. But McLeish expects the City players to adjust to life without Tevez and knows all about Silva's attacking qualities after seeing him score twice for Spain against Scotland in midweek.

McLeish added: "I wouldn't expect Tevez to be in the squad but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it because we know they've got fantastic replacements. We know whatever side City put out that they have a very strong team. We saw that from Silva's performance the other night for Spain and they can even play him up front."

The Scot added: "He is a quality player, he is fantastic, but most of the whole of Spain is fantastic and what a generation of players they have at their disposal. He is a great player, has settled in at Manchester City really well after a sticky start.

"I remember Roberto Mancini talking about him, saying it takes foreign players that bit longer to adapt, but you can be sure he has adapted well and he did great for Spain the other night."

McLeish has also been impressed with the resurgence this season of striker Gabriel Agbonlahor who has been declared fit to face City after a back problem.

Agbonlahor struggled to show his best form under Gerard Houllier but has netted four goals in seven league games this season.

McLeish said: "I think we gave him the opportunity first and foremost to play. Gabby showed some great application from day one at the training ground and that helps and that always counts with me, how hard players work on the training ground.

"I like to see them train the way they play on a Saturday and Gabby right away impressed. The other side of it was how best to integrate him with Darren Bent. I am not saying they are the finished article but we have to keep improving and building on it.

"It has been very promising and Gabby was electrifying at times in the Wigan game."

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