You spoilsport: Kids face England burn-out, warns O'Neill

Martin O'Neill has branded England's friendly in Germany next week as 'pointless' even though his Aston Villa youngsters Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor could feature in the absence of David Beckham.

The Villa boss yesterday bemoaned the presence of international friendlies and accused the Football Association of putting his players at risk of burn-out.

Gabriel Agbonlahor

Gabriel Agbonlahor

Ashley Young

Ashley Young

He said: 'They are pointless. Even though Gabby and Ashley may be called up, my view wouldn't change. We will be interrupting cup finals for them in the future.'

O'Neill, who attended an interview to become England's manager three years ago, added: 'Look, if I was an international manager, I would avail myself of every opportunity to play. But there has to be some sort of recognition for the players. They aren't getting a break. This is burn-out.'

O'Neill has invested in English talent at Villa and has seen Young and Agbonlahor prosper under his guidance.

England coach Capello will send his assistant Franco Baldini to Arsenal today to watch them ahead of naming his squad tonight for the match in Berlin on Wednesday. It is a squad that is likely to have a youthful feel and be without AC Milan-bound Beckham.

O'Neill added: 'Our players started playing competitive matches in July. They will play 10 more matches by the end of December than they did this time last year. 'It catches up with them. Next summer there will be an Under 21 competition. They will be expected to be fresh for that. It's relentless.

'After next week's England match, there's not another game for a considerable period of time. What is this game leading up to?'

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