At 6ft 4in, and with an imposing physique Carew is impossible to miss – but is flustered that he is being missed.

Admittedly, he is a little late and almost immediately postpones this interview, scheduled to take place upon his arrival, after being ushered into the building. "He turned up late last time," says one of the workers at Acorns. He was here for hours." Carew takes the responsibility seriously.

Ambrose did hit his penalty with confidence but so did Carew – twice.

A year after arriving in the last transfer window, John Carew is thriving at Aston Villa.

If it was to be the last game of Warnock’s time in charge – he’s expected to join QPR although last night was refusing to say more – the Championship club’s players gave him everything.

And Speroni showed why he was the club’s Player of the Season for the past two years.

He is no longer "The Hulk", "Little John", "El Vikingo" or whatever nickname his 10 years of bruising combat with defenders across Europe has earned him, playing as he has in six different countries, and euphemistically being called a "handful" by such daunting opponents as Fabio Cannavaro.

"You don't know everything about a club when you arrive," he says of the initiative Villa have embraced, committing thousands of pounds directly from the payroll – from directors, manager and players down to office staff.And, after talking to the children's families, it is eventually time for Carew to turn back to this interview and to talk, a little more easily than before, about football.It may seem incongruous, uncomfortable even, but he is much happier and relaxed.But, the Norwegian striker tells Jason Burt, it is his work for the club's charity that has helped put the game in perspective Alieu. But the day that the imposing Norwegian visits the Acorns Children's Hospice in the Birmingham suburb of Selly Oak the "alieu" is all around him.The word is said to mean "strength" in the Gambian homeland of John Carew's father. Acorns is the kind of courageous, humbling and uplifting place that is desperately deserving of such attention and support."I have to go meet the children," he says, agitated, just a few minutes into our discussion. "We can't kid ourselves as to why we are here," he says.