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Young poised to sign new Villa deal

Ashley Young

Ashley Young is on the verge of signing a new long-term contract with Aston Villa.

Villa boss Gerard Houllier confirmed that Young will be tying up his new deal "sooner rather than later", and he is expected to commit for four years. Young, who has just under two years left of his current contract, has started the season in sparkling form.

He has effectively switched from the wing into a second striker role behind Emile Heskey. When asked about Young's new contract, Houllier said: "The good news should come early, sooner rather than later."

Young will line up against Tottenham on Saturday who were linked with trying to sign the player from Villa during the summer.

Houllier has challenged him to take his game to another level so he becomes an England regular rather than a squad player.

The former Liverpool boss said: "Ashley, to me, has international qualities.

"He is clever, reads the game well, works hard, is quick, has got quick feet, can score goals, make goals, takes part in movements to prepare goals.

"Whether he can play for the national team is not down to me to say yes or no. All I know is that we want the player to step up another level because he is on the fringe of the international team.

"I want him to be a regular player (for England). If you are happy with your game, you are not going to improve. You will stay at the same level and then some players will overtake you.

"But his involvement and dedication to what he does at training is really a good sign for the future for him."