New captain Agbonlahor can inspire Aston Villa to safety, believes ex-midfield star Taylor

Alex McLeish's side are slipping towards a relegation scrap but the club ambassador is hoping that the new skipper will spark a change of fortunes against out-of-form Liverpool

By Rob Stewart

Aston Villa legend Ian Taylor believes that Gabriel Agbonlahor can inspire the club to Premier League safety after being named as the club's new captain ahead of their vital visit to Liverpool.

Taylor backed Agbonlahor to lead struggling Villa away from the relegation zone after the 25-year-old forward was appointed skipper by manager Alex McLeish following Stilian Petrov's diagnosis with leukaemia.

“It wouldn’t be the first time that Gabby has had the captaincy and now he has got the armband until the end of the season I am sure he is going to love every minute of it,” Taylor told

Gabriel Agbonlahor is 7/2 with PaddyPower to score anytime in Liverpool - Aston Villa

“He is Birmingham-born, he is a local lad and Villa is his team and so being handed the captaincy will be like a dream come true. It is just a matter of getting to the end of the season and taking it from there.

“Will we stay up? I certainly hope so. I think we can. We could do with getting a few of the injured players back sooner rather than later. Hopefully we can get enough points to make ourselves sae and then build from there.”

“Gabby will be honoured to be skipper but it’s just so sad that it has happened in these circumstances.

“It just that footballers are just human beings at the end of the day. A lot is aid about footballers in this day and age but ultimately they are just normal guys like anybody else and they can get ill.

“That happened with Fabrice Muamba and now Stilian and they are nice guys that this happens to. Stilian is a great guy and we hope that he makes a speedy recovery.”

Former Holte End favourite Taylor, who is now a Villa ambassador, believes that McLeish’s team should be optimistic that they can prosper on Merseyside despite a run of results that has seen their last eight games yield just one win.

He continued: “Hopefully it is a good time to play Liverpool because they are not in the best of form. I think their form is on a par with ours at the moment so it is a good time to go to Anfield.

“We know that they have got good players and it is Anfield so it is still going to be a difficult game. We have got a lot of injuries as well which does not help. We have got a lot of young players who are in the team at the moment and they are doing well in difficult circumstances.

“You just hope that the lads can rise to the occasion with it being at Anfield, not be overawed and put in a good performance. 

"I loved playing at Anfield down the years and I even managed to score the winner there as well so I have had some good experiences there.

"It was a miskick but my memories of that day are amazing because we always have a good away following at Anfield so to score in front of them was amazing.

“It is a great place to play. For any footballer anywhere in the world it is one of the places where they would love to play. Hopefully we can go there, the lads will enjoy it and they can put in a good performance.”

Former Villa hero Ian Taylor spoke to before heading to Hong Kong to promote the iT7 range of wireless Bluetooth headphones and speakers.