Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday March 9 2006
Following reports that Gary Cahill had faced an ultimatum to sign a new contract or not be played:
full article: Click Here
Gazton Villa sprang to David O'Leary's defence saying:
'Let's get this straight from the start. Cahill wasn't match fit. We weren't lied to. We weren't told the whole story, but for keeping an internal contract dispute private, O'Leary should not be criticised. Also, O'Leary had, it seem, two option for the defence on Saturday. 1. Play a recently signed Dutch international defender with vast experience. This player is very short of fitness but has a good defensive brain and plays away from the centre of defence so his shortfall in fitness may not be so apparent. If this lack of fitness is a problem during the game, and things go wrong, the player is old enough and experienced enough to let this one instance not effect him too much. 2. Play a 19 year old defender in his first Premiership game.
This player has some experience of first team football with a Championship side, but his single first team appearance for Villa resulted in the team shipping 3 goals in the first half. This player is also very short of match fitness and plays in the centre of defence. Chances are that if this fitness shortage is exposed, it will be done by Lua Lua who is strong and pacey and will run through the centre of defence to cause problems for Villa. Also, given the player's age and lack of experience, it could damage his confidence irrevocably and forever be an albatross around the young man's neck. I know which one I would prefer the manger to have done. Good choice O'Leary. Game won, clean sheet secured.'
Looks like Gazton was spot on, as the official site has released a statement today, something that was very much needed. Wonder if the Birmingham Mail will now retract the story?
They have confirmed that contract talks are ongoing but no ultimatum was made.
David O'Leary said: 'We had a meeting with Gary Cahill. As the Villa manager, I want to secure him for the future of this football club and see whether he will make it and be a good player for the football club. He had a meeting with Bryan Jones (Academy Director), myself and Roy Aitken last week. The contract side of it hasn't been cleared up. Gary felt we were thinking of playing him last Saturday, but he felt that, with lacking match practice and with the contract thing in his head, he wasn't right to play. Whether we were going to play him was another thing, but that decided he wasn't going to be involved in the squad, once he'd aired those issues.'
The 19-year-old defender has 14 months on his current contract and is, again according to paper articles, looking for a new deal thought to be worth around £8000 a week. Nice work if you can get it!
O'Leary seems to think the central defender is a good prospect: 'Of course I think he's got a good chance, without a doubt. He's done very well at Burnley when we put him out there. He showed great potential. What we want to do now is bring him in at the right time to give him a chance. But you've got to watch out when you do that. I don't want to ruin a young lad's career.'
Date:Thursday March 9 2006
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