O'Neill denies 'games' over Laursen future

December 10, 2007

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has hit back at claims from centre back Martin Laursen that he could be playing 'a dangerous game' leaving it so late to try and tie him up on a new contract.

Laursen insisted there had been no talks with Villa even though he has only six months of his current deal remaining although O'Neill intends to meet with the Danish international this week.

The 30-year-old could sign a pre-contract with a foreign club in January along with fellow defender Olof Mellberg and out of favour 'keeper Thomas Sorensen who also become free agents next summer.

Laursen has insisted he is keen to talk to Villa and feels a loyalty to the club after they strongly supported him during a three year knee injury nightmare - but he would like to resolve his future.

The former AC Milan player said: 'What do I think of three of four players soon being out of contract and nothing decided? That is his (O'Neill's) tactic. Is it a dangerous game? A bit, yes.

'What can I say? We will see what happens. We haven't spoken yet. Is it (the contract) moving closer? I don't know. Nothing has changed. There may be talks this week or the following week.'

O'Neill said: 'On the Martin Laursen thing, it is interesting because I have made appointments to see his agent this week and actually it (playing a dangerous game) is not true.

'The fact is that Martin has played all the games. If he has got a choice in this matter, then that is entirely up to him.

'If Martin had played one game and then missed five, played one then missed five then I am not so sure that there would be a `dangerous game' being played.

'That is the point. It could well be the case (that they leave) but I will do exactly what I can.'

Laursen is keen to stress he is not trying to rock the boat at Villa but just wants to thrash out where his future lies.

He said: 'I have been very pleased with the support of Villa. When I was injured they stood by me. They have always given me great support and I am fine here, I am happy here.

'I am playing, I feel good and I have a good relationship with the manager and everyone at the club. I've said all the time that we can sit down and talk about a new deal - but in football, you never know.'