Last season a learning curve - Heskey

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Emile Heskey is confident Aston Villa youngsters such as Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor will be better equipped to deal with the pressure of battling for a Champions League spot next season.

Villa looked set to break into the top four of the Barclays Premier League last season after moving five points clear of Arsenal at the beginning of March. But a dramatic fade-out in the final third of the campaign meant they only emulated their achievement of 12 months previously in finishing sixth.

The England striker said: "We have some young lads in the squad - the likes of Gabby (Gabriel Agbonlahor), Ashley (Young) and James (Milner) - and they will have gained a lot of experience from last season."

He added: "We pushed the big clubs and, even though the chance of coming fourth didn't materialise in the end, it will mean they have that experience in the locker for the coming seasons.

"If we get in the same position again, they will have the know-how and the experience that is so, so important, in dealing with it.

"You have to respect they are still young and they are still learning the game - they certainly have time on their sides."

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European News
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Emile Heskey
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Ashley Young
Aston Villa
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