By Gabriel Agbonlahor

4th Dec, 2020 | 7:00am

Agbonlahor Exclusive: Big-money signing 'Upsets' Aston Villa team

Gabriel Agbonlahor has heaped praise on Conor Hourihane and insisted he is a far better option than Aston Villa big-money signing Bertrand Traore.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the legendary former Villa striker backed Hourihane, 29, to retain his place for the Wolves trip later this month after his showing against West Ham on Monday.

Hourihane was handed a rare start in the absence of Ross Barkley who limped off against Brighton & Hove Albion after just five minutes with a hamstring injury the weekend before.

The England international was replaced with winger Bertrand Traore against the Seagulls with Jack Grealish moving from the left-wing into the centre.

Hourihane was eventually introduced with 15 minutes left and was handed a starting berth ahead of Traore at the London Stadium.

Asked by Football Insider why he thought Dean Smith picked the Irishman ahead of Traore, Agbonlahor said: “With Hourihane, he came in and added that balance in midfield with John McGinn.

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“He was a threat on set pieces, he kept the ball well and had a very good game for me.

“He added something to that midfield and it was the better option adding Hourihane than Traore.

“Traore upsets the balance in that position.

“Hourihane played very well and I’m sure he’ll keep his place in the side for the next game.”

Hourihane started Villa’s first two Premier League games of the season but was replaced with Barkley when he arrived on loan from Chelsea at the end of September.

He played a key role in the Midlands giants’ survival at the end of last term when he provided vital assists in a 1-1 draw with Everton and a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider can REVEAL John Terry’s stance on quitting the club for Derby County.