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Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 22:06 GMT 23:06 UK
Aston Villa squad guide

Sticking together: During the penalty drama against Bolton

Goalkeepers:

1 - David James, English, age 29



David James
One of the bargains of the season after his 1.8m move from Liverpool, James has put his Anfield problems behind him.

A giant figure in goal, James is still prepared to charge out and dominate his area but has managed to cut out the rash errors which marred his stay on Merseyside.

Saved two penalties in Villa's shoot-out win over Bolton in the semi-final.

13 - Neil Cutler, English, 23

Villa's third-choice keeper was signed from Chester shortly after Villa knocked the recently relegated side out of this season's Worthington Cup.

39 - Peter Enckelman, Finnish, 23

Finland international goalkeeper and Villa's second choice. Enckelman has enjoyed two spells in the team this season while James has been injured, including the FA Cup quarter-final win at Goodison Park.

Defenders

2 - Steve Watson, English, 26

Signed from Newcastle in 1998 for 3.5m, this versatile player is most at home on the right-hand side of defence, although he has been forced to share the place with Mark Delaney this season.

Watson remains a more solid defender although Delaney is usually selected when Gregory wants his right-back to be more attacking.

3 - Alan Wright, English, 28



Alan Wright and Gareth Southgate
One of the smallest and most reliable players in the Premiership, Wright was signed by former manager Brian Little from Blackburn for just 1m in 1995.

Since then he has been a virtual ever-present including one sequence of almost 100 consecutive first team appearances.

Many are surprised that he has not been given a chance to solve England's left-sided problems.

4 - Gareth Southgate, English, 29

Villa's skipper was signed for 2.5m from Crystal Palace in 1995, and within a year had won a League Cup and starred for his country at Euro 96.

The tournament infamously ended in penalty heartbreak at Wembley, but despite this Southgate has now made 33 appearances for his country.

Not the quickest or the strongest defender in the Premiership, but has a superb positional sense and ability to recover.

5 - Ugo Ehiogu, English, 27

Ehiogu's refusal to sign a new contract is causing concern at Villa Park since the two periods of poor form since Gregory's arrival have coincided with injuries to the giant centre back.

A bargain at 40,000 from West Brom in 1991 Ehiogu is the club's longest-serving player.

Strong and very quick, Ehiogu is superb at retrieving lost causes, and is unlucky to have one only one England cap.

15 - Gareth Barry, English, 19



Gareth Barry
One of English football's rising stars, Barry is only 19 but has already received a call-up to the full England squad.

The former Brighton youngster possesses two rare attributes for an English defender - he is left-footed and exceptionally comfortable on the ball.

Barry may lack some aerial ability and possess a degree of naivety but his coolly taken semi-final penalty showed he does not lack confidence.

20 - Najwan Ghrayib, Isreali, 26

The Israeli international left-back was signed for 1m last summer after a proposed move to Spurs fell through.

Ghrayib has struggled to oust Alan Wright from his regular first-team place.

24 - Mark Delaney, Welsh, 24



Mark Delaney
One of Gregory's best signings, Delaney cost 500,000 from Cardiff just a year after leaving Welsh non-league football.

Since then he has successfully challenged Steve Watson for Villa's right-back position and become a regular member of the Wales international side.

Delaney still has something to learn about defending but is more assured than Watson when going forward.

30 - Jonathan Bewers, English,

Youngster who recently made his debut at left-back as a substitute in Villa's 4-2 win at Tottenham

31 - Jlloyd Samuel, English, 19

A product of Charlton's youth system before Villa signed him as a teenager two years ago.

Samuel has forced his way into the first team and looks assured at central defence or in the left wing-back slot.

The unusual first name was created by his parents, and is pronounced Jay-Lloyd.

Midfielders

6 - George Boateng, Dutch, 25



George Boateng
Most who saw the Dutchman during the early months of the season thought Gregory mad to have paid Coventry 4.5m for his services.

But after being moved from a wide position into the centre of midfield he has been as consistent as any member of the squad.

Combative and energetic, Boateng breaks up opposition attacks and his intelligent distribution helps start many of Villa's.

7 - Ian Taylor, English, 31

A hero for Villa fans because he once stood alongside them on the Holte End.

Taylor was Brian Little's first signing from Sheffield Wednesday for 1m. He scored on his home debut in 1994 - against Chelsea and also in the 1996 Coca Cola Cup final win.

Boateng's arrival has freed Taylor to venture forward and enjoy a goalscoring purple patch before recent injury problems made him doubtful for the cup final.

8 - Mark Draper, English, 29

Still a Villa player although on loan with Spanish club Rayo Vallecano.

10 - Paul Merson, English, 32



Paul Merson
Villa's 6.75m investment in Merson has paid off this season with a series of superb peformances.

After much-publicised problems Merson has produced some of the best form of his career this season.

Always creative, his commitment to the cause was proved when he set up the winner in the fifth round victory over Leeds.

A clash of heads left Merson with blood streaming down his face and so dazed he was unaware that Benito Carbone had scored.

11 - Alan Thompson, English, 26

When Villa won their semi-final against Thompson's former club, Gregory's first signing (for 4.5m in 1998) looked an expensive misfit in the Midlanders' squad.

But injuries in April opened up a gap in the midfield and the man with the sweet left foot took his chance to provide Gregory with a pre-Wembley selection dilemma.

Thompson has a fierce shot and set-piece ability, as well as being a tenacious tackler.

17 - Lee Hendrie, English, 22

A product of the Villa youth system, this energetic and skilful attacking midfielder has endured a season in stark contrast to the club's dramatic upsurge.

When Hendrie injured an ankle in December Villa had gone three months without a win.

While the team recovered, Hendrie's appearances were limited although he has enjoyed success with the England under-21 side.

26 - Steve Stone, English, 28

Signed for 5.5m from Nottingham Forest, Stone was a typical Gregory signing - a big money transfer who initially failed to live up to his fee.

Like Merson, Stone found his form in the second half of this season and scored a crucial goal in the quarter-final win at Everton.

At Forest and during his spell in Terry Venables' England team Stone was most at home on the right wing but he prefers a role in the centre of midfield.

27 - Michael Standing, English, 19

Skilful young midfielder who joined with Barry from Brighton in a controversial move two years ago.

Both teenagers had been developed by the south coast club before Villa were forced by the FA to pay compensation for luring them to the Midlands.

32 - Aaron Lescott, English, 21

Midfielder with limited first-team opportunities.

Forwards

9 - Dion Dublin, English, 31



Dion Dublin
The miracle man of Villa's season, the 5.75m signing from Coventry was initially ruled out until the summer when he broke a bone in his neck in December.

He returned to find himself still Villa's top-scorer but with the team dramatically revived without him.

The striker came on as a substitute in the semi-final with Bolton and enjoyed a fairytale appearance by scoring the winning penalty.

Dublin is an old-fashioned centre-forward, big and strong with a supreme finishing ability.

12 - Julian Joachim, English, 25

A 1.5m signing from Leicester in 1996, Joachim was the Villa supporters' player of the year in 1998/9 but has failed to recapture his goalscoring form this season.

However his pace is a deadly weapon and if he could add ruthless finishing to his armoury he could become one of the Premiership's best strikers.

14 - Neil Tarrant, English, 20

Signed from Scottish club Ross County in 1999 who has spent this season on loan at Ayr, where he reached the Scottish Cup semi-final.

18 - Benito Carbone, Italian, 28



Benito Carbone
If one man has been responsible for the change in mood around Villa Park since last autumn then it is this little Italian.

After joining from Sheffield Wednesday he immediately won over the club's fans with some inventive performances.

Although goals were slower to arrive, Carbone saved his best for the FA Cup with four goalsd including a hat trick in a thrilling 3-2 comeback against Leeds.

The final could be his last game for Villa since he has failed to agree a long-term contract.

19 - Richard Walker, English, 22

Reserve striker who enjoyed a spell in the team during Dublin's injury. Walker scored Premiership goals against Watford and Arsenal, and earnt himself a new contract.

Strong in the air and a good link-up player his future opportunities may be limited by Dublin's recovery and the summer arrival of Belgian international Luc Nilis.

21 - Darren Byfield, English, 23

Young striker who has struggled to gain a first team place but has stayed at Villa despite loan spells at lower division sides.

22 - Darius Vassell, English, 19

Teenage striker who made an immediate impact with two goals in a Uefa Cup tie in 1998 but has struggled with injury this season.

25 - Gustavo Bartelt, Argentinian, 26

Loan signing from Roma but has failed to live up to the promise of his 5m transfer to the Italian club.

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13 May 00 | FA Cup
Chelsea squad guide