Martin O’Neill: Carew can still improve

Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill has always been a hige admirer of his Norwegian international striker John Carew and insists that Carew has the potential of becoming a 20-goal hitman and one of the best strikers in Europe.

The Ulsterman says:

To see John up to the nine-goal mark is great – and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t go on to become a 20-goals-a-season man.

John had a knee injury earlier in the season, and to be a 20-goals-a-season marksman you have to play the requisite number of games.

But he should be able to do that and also reach that number of goals, no doubt at all.

That’s the sort of thing I’m looking for from him, and I think he’s a miles better player than he thinks he is himself.

He’s a nightmare for defenders – but not just with pace, power and presence.

He has great ability to get the ball down, manoeuvre and bring people into the game. John is looking for consistency.

You are striving for excellence every game you play. But if you don’t achieve that, you still want to cause a lot of problems to defenders.

Ironically, in some of the games I felt John wasn’t as effective as he can be – but opposition managers have said afterwards that he has been a handful all afternoon.

He has got the ability – and if he could get increase that consistency factor, there is no reason to stop him being one of the best centre-forwards in Europe.

But for those who have followed Carew since his days with Valencia at the start of the century, he is already a spent force, a past-his-prime player who is actually reinventing himself.

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