Dunne and Given heading to Euro 2012, and Barry Bannan’s back, baby

The Euro 2012 play-offs are over and we now know all 16 teams who will be competing in Poland and Ukraine next summer. Barring any injury issues, there will definitely be some Villa interest as the Irish saw out their considerable advantage from the first leg against Estonia to book their place in the finals with a 1-1 draw in Dublin.

Just try to stop Shay Given and Richard Dunne getting on that plane.

The draw for the groups will take place

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Video: Rosenborg 3 Aston Villa 2 NextGen Series

Extended highlights from the U19s disappointing NextGen Series loss in Norway last week. Derrick Williams and Daniel Johnson were on the scoresheet for Villa, but two goals from Ole Kristian Selnæs and one from Mushaga Bakenga sealed the victory for the home side.

[Also available here]

Richard Dunne and Enda Stevens win Player of the Year awards in Ireland

I mentioned last week that future Villan Enda Stevens had been nominated for the 2011 PFAI Player of the Year Award and I’m pleased to let you know that he was named the winner in Dublin last night. Not only that, but Richard Dunne also scooped the Irish Overseas Player of the Year.

Dunne and Shay Given are currently with the Irish national side midway through their two-legged play-off tie against Estonia for a place in Euro 2012. Estonia head to

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Video: Darren Bent’s Twitter Q&A, plus McLeish on Gabby’s hammy trouble

Darren Bent recently took part in a Q&A on Twitter whilst on England duty, here’s a glimpse behind the scenes. Perhaps a little on the whimsical side, I was still surprised by his answer when asked who is the fastest player he’s seen on the football pitch. (It’s not Gabby)

[Email readers: if the video isn’t displayed, it’s available here]


In related news, I’m sure you’re already aware, but Gabby was forced to withdraw from the England squad once again with a

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Video: Extended highlights of England U21s 5-0 win over Iceland including Gardner’s goals

You may well have already seen this, but on the off chance you’ve been off the grid, as I have, in the last 24 hours or so, here’s the extended highlights of England’s 5-0 win over Iceland in the 2013 European U21 Championships qualifier in Colchester.

Nathan Delfouneso was in the starting eleven, but left the pitch with the game barely 10 minutes old after pulling up chasing a ball into the box. It didn’t look like anything major so hopefully

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Gary Gardner’s England double sets pulses racing

Gary Gardner stepped onto the Colchester pitch in place of Blackburn’s Jason Lowe in the 62nd minute with England leading 2-0 against Iceland in their Euro 2013 qualifier tonight. Barely more than half an hour later, the referee blew the final whistle and scoreboard read 5-0; Gardner adding two sublime late goals and a lot more to his growing reputation.

His first was an inch perfect free kick from 25 yards out: top corner, keeper stranded. His second, deep into injury

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Video: Aston Villa 4 Rosenborg 1 NextGen Series

In somewhat unfortunate timing (the U19s lost 3-2 just last night in Norway) video of the Young Lions 4-1 win over Rosenborg at Villa Park has just been published. This home win was played on November 2nd.

Graham Burke, who was missing last night through suspension, scored twice. Gary Gardner, who was also missing last night as he’s away with England U21s, and Michael Drennan grabbed a goal apiece.

[Email subscribers can watch the video here]

Villa’s final game in the group stage

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NextGen Series: Rosenborg U19 3 Aston Villa U19 2

Qualification for the knock-out phases of the NextGen series will have to wait after Villa’s U19s failed to get a result in Norway, losing 3-2 to Rosenborg.

Derrick Williams cancelled out Ole Kristian Selnæs’ 29th minute opener from a Samir Carruthers corner in the 39th minute. Daniel Johnson sent the visitors into the break 2-1 ahead just minutes later with a wicked shot from a tight angle.

Selnæs struck again to tie the game up in the 70th minute with his

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Herd wins the plaudits, and a growing list of minor injuries

Chris Herd’s performances have rightly earned him quite a few headlines in the last couple of weeks. Initially for the wrong reason, but lately for the right ones.

Alex McLeish has said that he’s “a manager’s dream; the best trainer at the club”.

He will train the way he plays on Saturday by giving it absolutely everything. Herdy can improve technically if he keeps practising. There is no doubt in my mind that he has the desire.

Peter Grant has also talked about

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