Ugo Ehiogu talks about the problems with Aston Villa and why England need to develop a style of their own

Last Updated: 25/04/14 2:52pm

Aston Villa go into this Saturday's home fixture with Southampton just four points above the relegation zone following a run of four straight defeats.

And off the field they are not faring much better with the news that assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa have been suspended pending an internal investigation.

That no official reason has been given has only fuelled speculation, which has included suggestions the manager Paul Lambert's position is under threat.

Ugo Ehiogu who helped Villa win the 1996 League Cup, told Soccer AM that the club's priorities have changed.

"Times have changed haven't they? Their requirements are different from when I was there - then we were looking at a top six, qualifying for Europe and challenging for the title. The goalposts have moved - it is all about development, bringing young kids through. You have to go with that though haven't you.

"It's a tough one - if you are not privy to what goes on behind closed doors you can't really know. You need an element of aggression as a coach but you also need soft hands, and kid gloves. It is a balance and I am sure Villa will sort themselves out."

Style and substance

With the World Cup just around the corner, Ehiogu also gave his views on where England are and clarified what he meant when he said there is no 'England way'.

"I think behind the scenes at England things are in the process of changing," he said.

"The appointment of Gareth Southgate as the U21 development coach is really helping. I still feel that we need to find out how we want to play; a style and develop that. Look for kids at a young age and try and develop the style that way.

"You have a style that you want to play, an identity - sometimes you have to change that to play against certain teams but generally speaking you want to play the same way.

"You cannot change everything with England straight away but I would certainly be looking to implement things in - it could take five or 10 years before you saw the benefits of that. You have got to be patient - if you don't give manager's time then it is just going to be the same!"

Ehiogu is involved with the Tottenham Hotspur Academy and says that developing a specific style of playing is more important than the result.


"There is a style that we want to play, so we can win 3-0 but if the players have not played in the right way, then we are not going to be that happy," explained Ehiogu .

"There is intent to play the right way. They have put a process in place - a five-year plan that has not changed with the two or three managers that have been in since. There has been some stability there.

"When you get to the first team it is about results - but if you have not got that style in the background leading up to it then you are not going to produce players who are able to play in a situation."

Ehiogu will soon be lacing up his boots for a worthy cause as he takes part in the upcoming Football For Heroes charity match that pits Premier League Legends against military servicemen.

"It's a great cause. My brother has done two tours of Afghanistan so although it is quite close to me it is just a great cause."

Tickets for the match can be purchased in advance for just £10 for adults and £5 for under 16s, with further discounts available for family and student tickets. Anyone wishing to secure a seat can visit