ASTON VILLA manager Martin O’Neill talked up Gabriel Agbonlahor’s World Cup credentials after the England striker snatched a late victory in the Birmingham derby.<br /><br />Agbonlahor nodded past Blues goalkeeper Joe Hart from close range with just five minutes remaining, after John Carew had flicked on Ashley Young’s free-kick.<br /><br />It took Agbonlahor’s tally to three goals in his last three games against Villa’s local rivals, and provided further evidence that he is over the slump he suffered earlier in the year.<br /><br />The 22-year-old has not featured for England since February’s friendly defeat to Spain, but O’Neill believes he is still firmly in the running for a place at next summer’s finals in South Africa. “I’m delighted for Gabby. Goals help his confidence enormously. It’s a big lift for him. He was excellent against Liverpool and Fulham and again today,” said O’Neill. “Until the World Cup gathers momentum I’ve not got a major worry. If he continues to play and perform right through the season there’s no reason for him to be disregarded.”<br /><br />O’Neill also hailed new defensive trio Richard Dunne, James Collins and Stephen Warnock, who all shone on their debuts as Villa clinched a third successive win.<br /><br />Birmingham manager Alex McLeish, meanwhile, felt aggrieved at conceding so late in a tight contest.<br /><br />“It is harsh result. There is no doubt about that. We played really well and got about Villa,” McLeish said. “Their goal was a free header and we’ve just got to deal with those balls. The Premier League is about concentration, pace and quality and concentration undid us a little bit.”<br /><br />The goal came when Young’s lofted set-piece from the right was helped on by substitute Carew and Agbonlahor took advantage of slack marking. He might have added a second late on but blazed over.