Laursen fears for Aston Villa's Premier League future
A Different League has learned that former Aston Villa captain Martin Laursen believes the youth policy of manager Paul Lambert has contributed to the side’s struggles this season, with Laursen admitting he fears for Villa’s Premier League future.
Speaking to Danish language site langebolde.dk before Villa’s 2-1 win over Reading on Saturday, Laursen said: “It's all well and good giving opportunities to young players because of financial restraints but I think Lambert has failed by almost exclusively going with young players. When you have a group of younger players playing together it often causes some nervousness.”
Laursen spent five years as a player at Villa Park, moving to the Midlands from Milan in 2004 and remaining at the club until retirement in 2009. The former Denmark international struggled with injuries at times during his Villa tenure, but still made more than 90 appearances, playing under David O’Leary and Martin O’Neill.
Prior to joining Villa, Laursen spent much of his career in Italy, moving to Hellas Verona from Silkeborg in 1998 and later transferring to Parma, though he never played a game for the Gialloblu - instead he remained on loan at Verona and was eventually sold to Milan on a permanent basis.
Laursen believes it was playing with experienced teammates that enabled him to develop as a player, something not available to the young players in Lambert’s squad. “They are playing people of 21, 22 years of age and that is too much of a good thing in the Premier League.
“When I was young it was fantastic to have René Henriksen next to me in the Denmark side or a Johnny Hansen at Silkeborg. Experienced players provide calm. We'll have to hope that Ron Vlaar gets himself fit again because that would help the team a lot.”
Laursen continued: “They have got some very big games now and they have plenty of opportunities to get themselves out of it. But in the situation they're in, I have to admit, I'm very nervous about the prospect of them going down.
“I don't feel certain that they'll stay up at all. It's a tough situation for the younger players to be at that end of the table. They lack people who've tried it before and who'll help relax the young players.”
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