Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday August 7 2006
Aston Villa's new manager Martin O'Neill will start work in earnest today. His first job is to assess the squad and try to convince some of the apparent want-away players that their future lies at Villa.
O'Neill explained: 'I think it is difficult to assess what I need to bring to the team at the moment. I should have a better picture by the end of the week when we will have played another two games. It's difficult to judge when some players haven't played for a long time and others have just come back from holiday. Olof Mellberg, for instance, has played in the World Cup and has only recently come back. People have short-term injuries, long-term injuries and so on.'
'That's why it is good to be out here to assess things. I need all the time in the world to do that.'
He also says the Villa fans haven't yet seen the best of Martin Laursen because he has been plagued with injuries.
Several reports suggest that Olof Mellberg is happy to stay at Villa, especially now O'Leary has gone - as it was often suggested his relationship with DOL was stretched.
Mellberg has also stood down as captain for Sweden although he doesn't intend to hang up his international boots just yet.
Our latest poll asks who you think should be Villa's captain under Martin O'Neill. I'm split between Mellberg and Barry. Mellberg is an excellent defender but I'm not sure he is vocal enough as captain? I think Barry played a massive part in keeping Villa up last season often looking like one of the only players really 'up for it' during games. That said, is Barry anymore vocal?
Villa are starting to be linked to new players including Real Madrid's Thomas Graveson, Baynern Munich's Owen Hargreaves and Celtic's Stilian Petrov.
Date:Monday August 7 2006
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