Sorensen: Villa may rue Cahill exit

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Thomas Sorensen has hailed the progress made by his former Aston Villa team-mate Gary Cahill and believes Martin O'Neill will have regretted selling the centre-back.

Cahill came through the youth ranks at Villa Park and was widely considered one of their brightest prospects, but he was given limited opportunities under then boss O'Neill before moving on to Bolton in January 2008. O'Neill was criticised at the time for allowing Cahill to leave but Sorensen has sympathy for the Northern Irishman.

He said: "I remember when I was at Sunderland and David O'Leary let Peter Crouch go for £2million or so and looking back he shouldn't have. But when you're in a situation where you have five or six defenders, sometimes you have to let people go even though they might end up being a great player. I'm sure he might regret that now but these things happen."

The 25-year-old has gone from strength to strength at the Reebok Stadium, particularly since Owen Coyle became manager 15 months ago, and has established himself in the England squad.

Coyle has already stated he expects Cahill to move on to one of the Premier League's top clubs and Sorensen, who will face his former team-mate at Wembley on Sunday when Stoke face Bolton in the FA Cup semi-finals, has not been surprised by his success.

The Danish goalkeeper said: "He came into the first team the last couple of years I was at Villa and did really well. You could definitely see the potential.

"He's a much better player now with the experience and deservedly included in the England squad. I think he's one of the bright central defensive talents in this country."

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Stoke City
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Peter Crouch
Aston Villa
Gary Cahill
Thomas Sorensen

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