First of all I’d like to apologise for the lack of posts and action on the site over the past week but I have been away and I’m running this ship single handed currently, but I’m back now and looking forward to a potential Champions League hangover for Tottenham tomorrow!
The club and manager have had some good and bad news today regarding the distant and immediate future of some key stars. It was revealed today that Nigel Reo-Coker is yet to discuss his future with the club after seemingly being forced out under the MON regime.
The tenacious midfielder has had a good start to the season and has appeared in the majority of Villa’s games thus far. Reo-Coker fell out of favour with O’Neill after being played out of position at right back where he unsurprisingly failed to impress. A rumoured bust between player and manager looked to end the 26-year-old’s tenure at the club but after being selected by caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald, Reo-Coker has looked to cement a first team place.
The ex-West Ham and Wimbledon captain appears to have earned himself a new lease of life under Houllier with his current deal expiring at the end of the season. The Villa managed is reported to be keen to tie up a new deal for the midfielder after impressing the Frenchman in his short time at the club.
The players agent, Tony Finnigan, has revealed that no talks were in the offing as of yet but that his client was enjoying playing under the new boss.
“Nigel is concentrating on his football, pure and simple; he is enjoying playing and is enjoying playing under Mr Houllier. No talks have been held or are planned at the moment, as Nigel just wants to concentrate on playing football.”
Houllier has also had his say on the predicament with the centre midfielder.
“I’ve been here two weeks, he has played two games. He is in the team. It is too early to say whether he will sign a new contract or not but he brings something specific to the team which we needed. I know he had problems with the previous manager but sometimes that happens.”
After Ashley Young confirmed that he is keen to sign a new contract at the club manager Gerard Houllier is eager to ensure a deal sooner rather than later. The winger, who has 3 goals to his name this season, has two years left on his current deal but Houllier is keen to extend this and deter any interest from elsewhere.
Young was heavily linked to a move to this weekend’s opponents Tottenham over the summer after the departure of Martin O’Neill. It was feared that losing the man who signed and nurtured Young may signal the end of his Villa career. A move home to London for the 25-year-old was touted with Spurs seeming the most likely destination.
The new manager has been massively impressed with his prized asset since joining the club and feels that Young warrants his chance with the national side.
“Ashley, to me, has international qualities. He is clever, reads the game well, works hard, is quick, has got quick feet, can score goals, make goals, takes part in movements to prepare goals.”
“Whether he can play for the national team is not down to me to say yes or no. All I know is that we want the player to step up another level because he is on the fringe of the international team. I want him to be a regular player.”
Houllier believes that the player can, and must continue to develop his game but has been pleased with his efforts so far.
“If you are happy with your game, you are not going to improve. You will stay at the same level and then some players will overtake you. But his involvement and dedication to what he does at training is really a good sign for the future for him.”
The club was hit with some bad news in the week after striker Gabby Agbonlahor picked up a groin injury in training. The rapid front man had just recovered from calf problems that had stunted his start to the season and the news comes as a blow to the team who will be looking to get the best out of him soon.
Manager Gerard Houllier revealed that Agbonlahor will undergo minor surgery on the injury after it had been reported the 23-year-old was in line to face Spurs. Gabby will now go in for surgery on Monday after his groin was causing him pain in training today. The issue will be more disappointing to the player as it will rule him out of consideration for England after manager Fabio Capello had singled him out for praise before the season.
“Gabby will have a minor operation on Monday evening on his groin, h e had to leave training this morning because it was too painful. I think the England squad is given on Monday and that has definitely ruled him out. He wouldn’t be able to play.”
On a positive note the injury does not look serious enough to keep the striker out for too long and he should be in for a return after a matter of weeks rather than months. Houllier was optimistic that the surgery would be a success and hoped that his player would be ready for action within a fortnight.
“It is not just a niggle, it is real pain and hopefully the operation will heal that. He could be available for the Chelsea game but, if not, definitely for the Sunderland game.”
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