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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

McLeish hails Villains’ Irish clean-sheet heroes Dunne and Given

“He headed everything, he read the play, he calmed the players down. It was a real top performance,” the Villa boss said of Ireland’s centre half.

West Bromwich Albion's Peter Odemwingie is challenged by Aston Villa's Richard Dunne.
West Bromwich Albion's Peter Odemwingie is challenged by Aston Villa's Richard Dunne.
Image: Jon Buckle/PA Wire/Press Association Images

ASTON VILLA MANAGER  Alex McLeish is tonight thanking his lucky stars for his Irish contingent.

Skipper Richard Dunne returned from an injury lay-0ff to help the struggling side to a valuable point against midlands rivals West Brom today.

The Ireland centre half’s return is good news for the Boys in Green of course, having recovered from a broken collarbone that kept him sidelined for two-and-a-half-month.

“Richard is a leader, a leader by example,” McLeish said. ”We took a calculated gamble. Richard told me if I needed him, he was good to go.

“I said ‘your presence would be wonderful’ and so it proved because he produced a wonderful performance today. He headed everything, he read the play, he calmed the players down. It was a real top performance.

Behind Dunne meanwhile, Shay Given earned more plaudits for an injury-time save to disappoint the Hawthorns crowd.

“It was a phenomenal save,” said Baggies boss Roy Hodgson. “Had that gone in, it would have been quite difficult for Villa given the other results. Bolton did well to take a point at Sunderland and Wigan have had a great result against Newcastle so it would have been tougher for Villa.”

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