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By ESPN Staff

O'Neill seeks long stay for Bouma

Aston Villa are set to take up a 12-month option on defender Wilfred Bouma's contract - but manager Martin O'Neill has intimated he is keen for the Dutch international to sign a fresh deal. Bouma had doubts surrounding his future when O'Neill took charge in the summer of 2006 after an unconvincing debut campaign following his move from PSV Eindhoven. But the left-back, who plays as a central defender for his country, has been one of the most improved players of the O'Neill era and has become a crowd favourite with the Holte End. O'Neill, whose side visit relegated Derby tomorrow, said: 'I think Wilfred has done very well indeed. We have a 12-month option on him which, at the very least, we would expect to take up. 'I have spoken very recently to Wilfred and his agent and we would hope we would be looking at that situation very shortly. He has done very well and I'd like to know what his views are on things. 'The rest of it (a new contract) would be down to speaking to Wilfred and his agent and seeing how they feel about it all. I am sure deep down Wilfred is pretty pleased with himself this year. 'Did he have to win me over? I think that everybody in the side would have felt it was a new start. I don't think it was a case of winning me over but a case of seeing what people are capable of doing. 'In fairness to Wilfred, he got injured relatively quickly after I came here. He didn't play my opening game in charge at Arsenal. 'Wilfred had a few injury problems but this is the longest spell he has stayed injury free and he has reaped the benefits.'