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Berger Could Still Beef Up Squad

Martin O'Neill says there could still be a future at Villa Park for 33-year-old former Czech Republic international midfielder Patrik Berger.

The former Liverpool and Portsmouth players' contract runs out at the end of the season but O'Neill says there might be an option of extending the playmakers stay.

'Will Berger be given a new contract? I wouldn't rule anything out. I have an open mind. I never once said that Patrik Berger's career was finished here. I will say when Patrik decided not to play in the reserves, took the fine instead, went off to Stoke, that I would have been hard-pressed to envisage him coming on in games - with everything forgiven - making the impression that he has.'

'I have been exceptionally pleased with him. That is a big turn-around for him. He has done that. At the end of it all, he is a good player. I did the same thing myself once when I was a player. I'd only played the previous 40-odd matches before then. I felt a bit irritated and the manager was irritated with me and he fined me accordingly.'

'The difference was that Patrik hadn't been in the team but he has been a really fine footballer. He is staying fit now. He has stayed fit for three months, which is his longest time here at Villa, and maybe even when he was at Portsmouth. Patrik can influence things. He has been a class player. I would certainly have forgiven him for everything if he had been 26 - and not 51! I am also not so sure that Patrik wants to go to America.'

He would certainly have a great deal he could pass on to the younger players surely? If only he had been ours when he was in his pomp, he was superb for Liverpool and only injuries have held him back from being one of the very best in the Premiership. As we look to build a squad, surely it would make sense to keep him another year and allow him to come on and give tired defenders something extra to think about late on in games?




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday March 16 2007

Time: 2:30PM

Your Comments

America bound for one last payday. Sorry but if Berger has a future at Aston Villa then the club is not aiming high enough to get away from where we are and move up to challenge the Boltons and Reading of this world, never mind the Arsenal Liverpool and the other two. Sorry for the negative post but If Berger has a futer then MON and Villa dont.
col8
Col8 - I disagree, he would be in my squad every week even if he could only cut-it for 40 minutes maximum. His all round ability is a rare commodity and can't be dismissed lightly. Whenever he has come on under MON, He always seems to add something extra. Would be nice if he was 10 years younger but let's just judge him on what he's capable of today.
villacross
The ability is still there, no question about that, but you can understand where Col is coming from. Can we keep him injury free? Would he be happy with a bit part role? Is there really nobody out there capable of replacing Patrik in the squad? Its obviously going to be MON's call come seasons end, but as of right now I remain somewhat undecided.
glensider
I agree with Col8. Let's be frank - he hasn't contributed a great deal since his arrival. And against Arsenal he elected to go for glory when he could have played in Young at the death. Keeping Berger is a step backwards, not forwards.
pongogidman
pongogidman you definitely make a valid observation, but in recent weeks he has started to look a different player. He can at least play that telling ball that most of our other midfielders seem incapable of doing. I tend to think we need to re-evaluate his status come seasons end.
glensider
 

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