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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 7, 2006

Barry keen to work under O'Neill at Villa

Gareth Barry has followed skipper Olof Mellberg in indicating he is willing to pledge his future to Aston Villa following Martin O'Neill's appointment as manager.

Midfielder Barry was considering his future after becoming unsettled at the uncertainty surrounding the future at Villa where he has spent the last eight years and made over 300 appearances.

Villa rejected one bid from Portsmouth for his services and Tottenham have been monitoring the situation.

Barry was one of several players known to have become disillusioned with life at Villa during the latter part of David O'Leary's reign.

But Barry has made it clear he wants to be part of a new era under O'Neill who was taking charge of training for the first time today in Holland.

Barry said: 'There were players getting a bit frustrated but this is a clean start and an opportunity to start again.

'Everyone is going to be flying in 100% and committing to the club again.

'Obviously Martin O'Neill was the number one target and he was the best man out there for the job.

'We're all delighted the club got the best man and we're looking forward to working under him.

'A few friends rang me on Friday to say loads of fans had turned up to Villa Park to welcome him and that's not surprising.

'The fans are happy with this appointment and the players are happy too.

'I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas he's got, the way he trains players and the way he thinks.'

Meanwhile defender Martin Laursen is refusing to put a date on his Barclays Premiership comeback with Villa.

The Danish international played the final 17 minutes of the goalless draw with Hanover 96 on Saturday in continuing his return from a knee problem which sidelined him for virtually all of last season.

Laursen said: 'I would like to think of playing against Arsenal on the opening day of the season but I won't set a date on my comeback.

'I would definitely like to be in contention. That would be great for me but I don't want to set any time on it.

'I'm just happy to be playing again and feeling no ill-effects.'

Meanwhile, Villa's record signing Juan Pablo Angel resumed training today after missing the Hanover game with a slight thigh strain.

The Colombian international is hoping to put himself in contention for tomorrow's pre-season game in Holland with NEC Nijmegen.

Angel explained: 'I had only a minor injury and hopefully I can get back into action soon.

'With the new manager coming in, this is a very exciting time and everyone wants to be involved.'

O'Neill will be hoping he can get the best out of Angel who has looked only a shadow of himself for the past two seasons after scoring 23 times during the 2003-04 campaign.

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