Heskey: It was a learning curve
Emile Heskey is confident Aston Villa youngsters such as Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor will be better equipped to deal with the pressure of battling for a UEFA Champions League spot next season.
Villa looked set to break into the Premier League's top four last term after moving five points clear of Arsenal at the beginning of March. But a dramatic loss of form in the final third of the campaign meant they only emulated their achievement of 12 months previously in finishing sixth.
It was a new experience for the likes of PFA Young Player Of The Year Young and runner-up Agbonlahor, and Heskey feels it will stand them in good stead for the challenges ahead.
"We have some young lads in the squad - the likes of Gabby, Ashley and James (Milner) - and they will have gained a lot of experience from last season," said the England forward.
"We pushed the big clubs and, even though the chance of coming fourth didn't materialise in the end, it will mean they have that experience in the locker for the coming seasons.
"If we get in the same position again, they will have the know-how and the experience that is so, so important, in dealing with it. You have to respect they are still young and they are still learning the game - they certainly have time on their sides."