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O'Neill's Work Starts In Earnest

O'Neill's Work Starts In Earnest

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.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Monday August 7 2006
Time: 11:17AM


Gotta be Mellberg for me purely for the fact that if he was to be stripped of the captaincy it would destroy his relationship with O'Neill before it bagan. If he gave up the captaincy voluntarily then Barry is the only other player worth considering I think... maybe Davis?
07/08/2006 11:28:00
Mellberg if he wants it, but he needs to start leading by example being more vocal.
Steve W
07/08/2006 11:33:00
Who's that in the picture? Petrov?
07/08/2006 11:42:00
I think it is Petrov. All the players linked here - I'd gladly take all three!
07/08/2006 11:51:00
Pleeeeease get us a decent holding midfielder and some pace/creativity for the right wing.
07/08/2006 12:17:00
tyler - I forgot we needed someone for the right wing, oh SH!T!! I'm not too bothered about captain being vocal, players should shout and be listened too just the same captain or no captain... the modern day captaincy isn't so important really, its just a symbolic thing and someone who does a bit of extra media work and buffs their ego etc...
07/08/2006 12:24:00
Like the rest of the country I wasn't a fan of Hargreaves before the World Cup but he was one of the few English players to emerge out of the tournment with any credit. Perhaps he did so well because he was playing in Germany, but I'd risk it, if he came to Villa I'll be happy. Petrov is supposed to be quality too, but I think we can do better than Graveson
07/08/2006 13:29:00
What a difference a manager makes, with in a week I have been worried about loseing Barry to signing Hargreaves, Graveson or Petrov. Amazing!
NY Villa
07/08/2006 15:30:00
Thomas Graveson, Owen Hargreaves and Celtic's Stilian Petrov, would be 3 good signings and with a few strikers that could set u up for next season
green giant 12
07/08/2006 16:34:00
Guys, I reckon we've got problems with both full-backs. Bouma was injury prone and I thought he was gonna be a centre haf anyway! The right wing is a problem, you think that Milner could still be a target? MON would also get the best out of Hendrie who was looking good a couple of seasons ago. McCann is praised by the staff but for me doesn't impact enough. Davies is emerging but would he get into the top 4 teams? Boros is class but injury prone and Angel will now do us a job. Still concerned about Sorenson who couldn't catch a cold at times last year. It's like someone's turned a light on isn't it. Optimism.... brilliant. Come on the Villa!
07/08/2006 17:38:00
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