Cup can be a lift for Aston Villa, says Gareth Southgate

Monday 02 Mar 2015
Gareth Southgate led Villa to The FA Cup Final in 2000
Former Aston Villa captain Gareth Southgate believes The FA Cup can provide a welcome distraction for his old club.

The Villans face near-neighbours West Bromwich Albion in Saturday’s Sixth Round Proper, just days after meeting the same opponents in the Premier League.

Aston Villa v West Brom

The FA Cup Sixth Round Proper
5.30pm, Saturday 7 March 2015
Villa Park, Aston Villa 
Winners receive £360,000 from prize fund
Live on BBC1

Wins have been hard to come by for Villa in the league this season, but their Cup campaign has been a different matter with progress past Leicester City, AFC Bournemouth and Blackpool in the competition so far.

And England Under-21s head coach Southgate feels Tim Sherwood’s side can use their Cup confidence to try and spark some form in their bid to climb the table.

"Winning breeds confidence so from that point of view, you want to win every match you can just to get some sort of momentum," said Southgate, who spent six years at Villa Park during his playing days.

"Clearly, their priority is to stay in the Premier League and The Cup will be a welcome distraction for them but it’s probably not the most important thing at this moment in time."

Chelsea and Aston Villa captains Dennis Wise and Gareth Southgate ahead of the 2000 FA Cup Final.

Southgate was skipper for Villa when they met Chelsea in The Final of 2000

Southgate admits he has always held a soft spot for The FA Cup, which is a competition he came agonisingly close to winning during his career.

He led out Villa for The Final of 2000 against Chelsea, but a second-half goal from Roberto Di Matteo won it for the Londoners and broke Villa hearts at Wembley.

And he also featured in the Semi-Final of 1994 during his time with Crystal Palace, when the Eagles lost to Manchester United after a replay, with both games ironically staged at Villa Park.

"I loved it," he admits. "But I suppose I’m of an age where The FA Cup Final was the only live game that was really shown on television. 

"And I didn’t play at clubs that were challenging for the league title so The Cup was key, as it was the only thing you could win.

"So I could never understand why teams didn’t take it as seriously if they weren’t in the Champions League."

Southgate’s Under-21s side will next be in action later this month when they take on Czech Republic in Prague on 27 March and Germany at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on 30 March. Tickets for the game in Middlesbrough are available now, by clicking here.

Watch the highlights of Villa's win in the Fifth Round Proper


By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels