Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor hopes to see more of 'quality' Carles Gil this season

The 22-year-old Spaniard saw little game time under Tim Sherwood last term but is currently impressing in pre-season.

After getting few opportunities to line up alongside Carles Gil last season, Aston Villa teammate Gabby Agbonlahor is hoping that playing with the Spanish midfielder becomes a regular occurrence this coming campaign.

Speaking to AVTV from the club’s pre-season training camp in Portugal, where Gil has been making quite an impression, Agbonlahor said: "He’s come back in pre-season and he's flying.

"I played with him in a practice match the other day and I loved playing with him. He can get the ball, turn and slip you through. He's perfect for me, running in behind.

“I hope he keeps improving and hopefully he gets a chance because, for me, he's a quality player.”

 2014-15 Premier League PositionTeamGoalsAssistsTotal Key PassesPassing AccuracyTotal CrossesCrossing AccuracyTotal DribblesDribble SuccessAppearancesMins Played
Carles Gil MF Aston Villa 0 1 6 89% 33 15% 26 69% 5 359

Gil’s plight at Villa became one of the main talking points of last term’s run-in, having been labelled the elusive No. 10 Paul Lambert’s side had been lacking upon making a mid-season move from Valencia.

The £3.2 million man made a hot start to life in the Midlands, scoring a spectacular full debut goal in the 2-1 FA Cup fourth round win over Bournemouth and impressing in his first four Premier League starts, but the subsequent appointment of Tim Sherwood soon led to a considerable downturn in fortunes.

After lasting less than an hour into Sherwood’s first game in charge against Stoke, the skilful Spaniard would go on to earn just a one-minute cup cameo over the remaining 15 games of the season, as rumours of a falling-out with his new boss cast doubt over his long-term future at the club.

Sherwood himself offered little explanation for Gil’s lack of action, aside from a few comments to the Birmingham Mail ahead of April’s 3-3 home draw with Queens Park Rangers.

“I just pick a team that I think will win a match,” he said. “Had he done well before? I didn’t know. He might have been doing well personally but they’d lost seven on the spin.

“It’s all about Aston Villa, not one particular player. I like Carles – he trains really well but when I think it’s right for him to get an opportunity he’ll get it, and that goes for everyone.

“We’ve got a few men in there - but we’ve got a lot of pretty much icing on the cake players and I’m trying to get that mentality into them to forget about digging out results.”

Since linked with a return to Spain, the likes of Betis, Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad and Villarreal have all been named as potential suitors [h/t Estadio Deportivo] but recent developments suggest that Gil’s Villa career might be far from over.

The former Under-21 international started the pre-season opener against Fulham and, having showed several bright moments in his 45-minute run-out, looks to be pushing himself back into Sherwood’s plans.

Fans would be just as delighted as Agbonlahor should that prove the case, having seen their calls for his inclusion over the final months of last season fall on deaf ears.

Based on his initial performances, their demands were more than justified but whether Sherwood will listen this time remains to be seen.

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