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Gabby Agbonlahor Blames Martin O'Neill After He Infamously Went AWOL From U21 Euros

Gabby Agbonlahor Blames Martin O'Neill After He Infamously Went AWOL From U21 Euros
By Gary Connaughton

He never fulfilled his potential at Aston Villa, but Gabby Agbonlahor was seen as a very exciting prospect when he first broke through at the club.

Making his mark on the first team as a 19-year old back in the 2006/07 season, the striker would score nine goals as he appeared in every one of the club's Premier League fixtures during his first full campaign in the senior side. As a result, he would be called up to England's squad for the U21 European Championships that summer.

However, Agbonlahor would hit the headlines after he failed to report for international duty at the end of that season. After failing to return the calls of manager Stuart Pearce, he was subsequently dropped. He was heavily criticised at the time with many questioning his desire to play for his country.

As it turns out, he blames Martin O'Neill for the whole situation.

The Northern Irishman was Agbonlahor's club boss at the time, and speaking on talkSPORT earlier today, he said that his manager told him to skip the tournament to rest up after a long season. The only issue was that he forgot to tell Stuart Pearce about that particular decision.

It was a misunderstanding.

I had played every game in my first season for Villa and Martin O'Neill wanted me to rest in the summer and enjoy my summer off.

Knowing Martin as you know him Ally [McCoist], he forgot to tell Stuart Peace. They all attended the start of the tournament at the hotel and I'm not there because 😬

Pearce is fuming, he is fuming...

It was a misunderstanding from the gaffer not telling him. It was all over Sky Sports, breaking news 'Gabby has gone AWOL from the U21s'...

It was a misunderstanding, Martin O'Neill is to blame.

While Agbonlahor would not feature in that tournament, he would be recalled by Pearce the following season and go on to play in the 2009 edition.

The incident did not sour his relationship with O'Neill, with the pair working together at Villa for another three years until the manager's departure in 2010.

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