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The 26-year-old was overlooked by Roy Hodgson despite starting the season in impressive form, but his manager is confident his ongoing exile will not affect his performances

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has dismissed talk of Gabriel Agbonlahor being disheartened by his failure to earn an England recall.

The striker has assisted four goals in as many games so far this season, impressing in Villa's counterattacking set-up that secured an opening day win at Arsenal, while also troubling Chelsea and Liverpool in narrow defeats.

Agbonlahor has three caps for England, but has not featured for almost four years, his last outing at international level coming against Belarus in October 2009.

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Rickie Lambert has featured in both of Roy Hodgson's England squads so far this season, scoring twice in three games, and Lambert moved to dampen suggestions that Agbonlahor should have been called up ahead of the Southampton man.

"I'm not going to tell Roy Hodgson how to do his job," the Scot said. "That's his prerogative, to pick the national team. It's hard enough to pick any team.

"From my own point of view he's been playing fantastically for me, he really has.

"In the last three games he's been excellent. He's been at the top of his game against the best teams in the land in Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

"To be fair to Gabby he hasn't let it bother him; he's just got on with it. You can't influence somebody to pick somebody. But for me and this football club, he's playing really well.

"The England players are really top players anyway. England are still in the driving seat so the point was a really good result. People said 'they didn't do X, Y and Z but it was a fantastic result for them to go there and get something.

"They're still in the driving seat so there's no problem there.

"But in terms of Gabby and this football club, he's been excellent."

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