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Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Saturday, 28 August 2010 11:23 UK

Gabriel Agbonlahor pledges entire career to Aston Villa

Gabriel Agbonlahor
Agbonlahor sees his long-term future at Villa Park

Gabriel Agbonlahor has declared he wants to stay at Aston Villa for the rest of his career.

The 23-year-old forward's statement comes at a time when Villa are in need of a boost after they were dumped out of the Europa League on Thursday.

And caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald has also admitted that he expects a battle to hold on to his best players.

Agbonlahor said: "Being from the area, I've got no reason to ever leave. I'm just enjoying my football here."

"I saw in the programme stats the other day that I'm the longest-serving player," added the Villa Academy product.

"I think I am one of the senior statesmen! I might bring that up with some of the lads.

"But I'm a local lad and you look at people like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard - they don't want to leave their clubs - and it's the same with me."

Agbonlahor was Villa's second-highest scorer with 16 goals during the 2009-10.

He missed the first three games of the 2010-11 campaign with injury before returning and scoring in the Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna on Thursday, but could not prevent the Midlands side from crashing out 4-3 on aggregate.

That defeat has prompted MacDonald to send out a hands-off warning to other clubs who may feel some of Villa's players could now be unhappy and seeking a move.

"I am sure clubs will be interested in players because there are some good players at Aston Villa," stated MacDonald, who took over the reins when Martin O'Neill quit just before the start of the season.

Ashley Downing

"You'd expect not being in Europe to be a factor but you'd expect it from the clubs that are playing in Europe in that they might want an extra big player.

"We've had not anything [enquiries] as such. People would have told me if there were any enquiries. We've had nothing so far.

"But in terms of convincing players to stay, it might not be their choice. If the club needs them, and they are under contract, the club will probably want to keep them."

MacDonald, who will decide after Sunday's Premier League game at home to Everton if he wants to apply for the job on a permanent basis, believes the squad may need strengthening after the losses to Newcastle and Rapid.

He added: "I think the results over the last two games would suggest that. As far as I know there is nothing on the horizon.

"I've been asked about who I thought might improve the team. I am not about to divulge that but I have been asked.

"But the big thing coming from when Martin O'Neill left was that a lot of the squad players were disgruntled.

"Those squad players have been given an opportunity to play. Whether it is one or two games, they have to come up to speed very, very quickly.

"There are lot of players with international experience in the squad. Whether we need to change the squad around a bit, that remains to be seen."

MacDonald also believes the quality of manager interested in replacing O'Neill will not be affected by the lack of European football.

He commented: "I don't really think that will be the case. I think Aston Villa is regarded as a major club and any Premier League club is a major club.

"I just think that there will be lots and lots of applications for this club because everyone will think they can push this club back up."

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see also
MacDonald job chances suffer blow
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Aston Villa 2-3 Rapid V (agg 3-4)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Villa loss my fault - MacDonald
22 Aug 10 |  Premier League
MacDonald still unsure over future
20 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
Newcastle 6-0 Aston Villa
22 Aug 10 |  Premier League
O'Neill quits as Aston Villa boss
09 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa

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