Villa swoop for England defenders

Martin O'Neill looks to have solved UEFA Intertoto Cup winners Aston Villa FC's full-back problems by signing England internationals Nicky Shorey and Luke Young.

Villa signings Luke Young and Nicky Shorey in opposition last season
Villa signings Luke Young and Nicky Shorey in opposition last season ©Getty Images

Problem positions
Following Olof Mellberg's summer departure to Juventus and a serious ankle injury to Wilfred Bouma, the UEFA Intertoto Cup winners had been without a natural full-back with their UEFA Cup and Premier League campaigns starting in the next nine days. Reading FC left-back Shorey and Middlesbrough FC right-back Young are expected to fill the void after Villa outlaid around €11.5m to bring in the England internationals. Both signings can expect to go into the side for Thursday's UEFA Cup second qualifying round first leg fixture away to Icelandic side FH Hafnarfjördur.

European ambition
The pair take the list of new faces at Villa Park this summer to five, following the earlier arrivals of Steve Sidwell, Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan, and Shorey admits their calibre helped make his mind up to choose Villa over several suitors. "Villa are definitely going places – you can tell by the signings they're making and the people already at the club," said the 27-year-old. "I can achieve all my ambitions at this club." Ambition was also behind the decision of Young, 29, to join from Premier League rivals Middlesbrough, the right-back saying: "I think at the minute Villa are a notch above Boro, and there's a great opportunity for me to play European football as well."