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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

O'Neill hopeful of securing Bouma's signature

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is optimistic defender Wilfred Bouma will sign a new two-year contract.

The Dutch international, currently preparing for the Euro 2008 finals, was one of Villa's most consistent and improved performers last season in the left-back role.

His current deal runs out this summer but O'Neill is keen to take up a one-year option on the former PSV Eindhoven player and add at least another 12-month extension on top of that.

O'Neill said: 'I think Fredy (Bouma) has done very well indeed. I am sure deep down he is pretty pleased with himself after the way things have gone this year.

'I don't think it was a case of anyone winning me over after I came here nearly two years ago but a case of seeing what people are capable of doing.

'In fairness to Fredy, he got injured relatively quickly after I came here and was actually unavailable for my very first game in charge against Arsenal.

'Fredy has had a few injury problems but this last season was the longest spell he had stayed injury free, which is a major consideration in people doing well.

'We are are happy to take up at least the year option on Fredy's current contract and we are hoping to do an extra year on top of that.'


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