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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 13:45 GMT
Taylor puzzled by Balaban
Bosko Balaban has yet to play a full game for Villa
Bosko Balaban has yet to play a full game for Villa
Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor admits he is baffled by his enigmatic 6m striker Bosko Balaban.

Balaban was signed from Dinamo Zagreb last summer by previous Villa boss John Gregory but has still to start a game in the Premiership.

Incredibly, last week's reserve game against Bradford was the first time Balaban has completed a full game at any level in a Villa shirt.

Now the Villa boss says it is up to the player to start coming up trumps in the pitch and avoid becoming another big-money flop.

Problems

Taylor said: "It's incredible that we've spent more than 6m on a player and it's taken us eight months for him to complete 90 minutes - and that's in the reserves.

"This has been a big problem for me because he has not been playing football. To be fair to him, how do you assess him?

"He wants to play in the first team and justify himself - but how is he going to? I'm almost as confused about the situation as he is.

"We've got some hard games coming up against Leeds and Newcastle so it's difficult to slot Bosko in.

"We've done what we can in the sense that it doesn't matter who you are, you always want help and advice.

"But ultimately it comes down to you on the football pitch. Hopefully we are getting that message through," added Taylor.

"You have to work on it because when the club has committed itself to this amount of money, you can't just put it to one side."

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