Gabby Agbonlahor’s new four-year deal at Aston Villa has been given the thumbs up by former captain Martin Laursen, who has hailed the forward’s influence on the club.
The 27-year-old first joined Villa as a schoolboy in 1994, before working his way up through the ranks to earn his Premier League debut in 2006, since going on to score 79 goals in 320 appearances, while also earning three senior England caps in the meantime.
The Birmingham-native and Laursen lined up together at Villa Park from 2006 until the latter’s retirement in 2009, and the Dane has stressed that his impact comes not just on the pitch but also in the dressing room.
‘I am delighted to hear about Gabby's new contract,’ he told the club’s official website. ‘He's a good guy and a top player. He was very young and came through when I was there at Villa.
‘He was playing so, so well when I was there and he has continued to excel in the Barclays Premier League year after year.
‘He's from Birmingham. He's an Aston Villa man through and through. It's important to have lads like that in the team. To continue playing at a high level for so many years is great.
'He is a team player and works hard on the pitch. Even when he's not scoring goals, he gives you something out there. In the games, he's always there for the group.
‘He's unplayable at times. He's fast and strong - those two combinations are perfect for a striker.
‘Off the pitch, he is a funny, funny guy. I remember him together with Ashley Young. Those two were thick as thieves. They were always laughing and joking and bringing humour to the training ground – they were like two naughty schoolboys.
‘Gabby has a real talent and always does his job in training and on the pitch. But around the place, I am sure he's keeping everyone happy with his big personality.’
With Agbonlahor’s future tied down to the club for the long-term, Villa’s attention will turn to now-England international Fabian Delph, captain Ron Vlaar and promising winger Jack Grealish, who are all in the final season of their respective deals.