O’Neill champions Villa duo’s cause

James Milner already appears a strong candidate to be part of Fabio

Capello’s World Cup squad because of his ability to play in several

positions. But O’Neill feels Young and Downing can excel on

England’s right wing after David Beckham’s Achilles injury ruled

him out of the finals in South Africa. O’Neill said: “I don’t know

what the England manager had in mind, whether he was going to take

David Beckham or not to the World Cup. “The news coming out of the

England camp suggests that he was – and therefore it is a blow. He

has been a very good player for quite some considerable time. “On

the other hand, as you say, if there is an opportunity there, we

have one or two players who actually play and can excel in that

position. “That is down to the England manager.” O’Neill added: “I

said last week that, if the likes of Ashley and Gabby (Agbonlahor)

and players of that ilk, still have designs left on heading to

Africa, every single game they play in will be a chance for them to

shine. “I’ve heard that James Milner is in a great position to go,

one of the reasons being he can play well in a number of positions.

“When you’ve got a couple of all-purpose players in your squad,

that would suit any manager. “As for the position wide right, there

must be three or four candidates that have got a strong chance. My

own view is that Ashley can play there very well indeed. “Stewart

Downing can play there very well indeed. I don’t know what the

thoughts are (of Capello) but there is still time.”