Writer: Mike Field
Date:Friday April 18 2008
Gareth Barry has today spoken out about the constant speculation of him leaving for another club come the summer.
For as long as most can remember we've had constant rumblings of him leaving, whether that be to Spurs, Portsmouth or most recently Liverpool or Chelsea.
Speaking on the official site, Barry said that the rumours at the moment were pure speculation and that he's focused on getting Villa into Europe. With 2 years left on his contract and a testimonial in the pipeline he's also not looking to up sticks just yet even if the speculation was to become a formal offer at any point.
O'Neill has recently said himself that he's looking to sort out another contract for Barry as well, so it's clear the manager still sees him as an integral part of his rebuild.
Responding to the links and rumours of late, Barry said:
'I've always said I can be successful here.
'At this moment in time it's speculation. It's something I've had to deal with before and I'll approach it in exactly the same way as I've done in the past.
'Until the manager says something different or I hear something different then my job is to focus on helping Villa finish this season. I don't see why I should be sidetracked at this moment.
'There's still so much to play for at Aston Villa and I'm fully focussed on trying to achieve that fifth spot - which is still available. We can catch Portsmouth and Everton and first things first, the job is to try and win on Sunday.
'I've not even spoken to the manager about my contract here or about any other clubs. Until I speak to him I won't know his plans for next season.
'I'm sure we'll be speaking to him pretty soon, but at this moment in time I think it's important for me and the club to concentrate on achieving the best possible league position.'
The main reason for people linking Barry with a move away is due to the England aspect. Too many believe you can only have a proper England career if you are a reserve player for Man U or a rotation player at Liverpool. That simply isn't really the case and Barry has proved that time and again when representing his Country.
It also seems unlikely that Barry will look to move on for those reasons given the relationship that has been struck with O'Neill. We all thought Barry was a dead cert to move on after the Liar O'Leary debacle, yet a few words from the Wee Man gave Barry all the reassurance he wanted.
'I think this has been my best season, certainly in terms of my own game and where the club's heading now. From two years ago to where we are today, we've made exactly the strides the manager told me we would do.
'He said we'd be competing for European football again, which we are. He told me my own individual game would come on and I'd be playing for England again - which has also happened. It's been a great season for myself and hopefully the club can finish with a good season too.
'I don't think I have to move to learn more. The ideal situation for me is to be competing at the top level of football for this club.
'When people talk about me leaving they don't talk about the fact that I've got so much to lose here as well. I'm the captain here and I've got a great relationship with the fans.
'Ten years at one club, it would be a wrench to even think about leaving. I don't have to leave to achieve, I've always said I want to be doing it here.'
I'll repeat that last bit simply because it's potentially the best quote from a serving player in over the last 20 years.
'I don't have to leave to achieve, I've always said I want to be doing it here.'
Date:Friday April 18 2008
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