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By ESPN Staff

Barry happy that Villa kept hold of him

Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry has spoken of his "respect" for manager Martin O'Neill and the midlands club.

Barry hoped to complete an £18 million switch to Liverpool last summer but the Reds did not meet Villa's asking price. The 28-year-old was desperate to play Champions League football but now seems likely to meet that aim after a decade of loyal service to Villa.

Barry, made stand-in skipper in the absence of injured Martin Laursen said: "I said straight away that myself and the manager are both professional people who want the best this season for Villa. The relationship is very good.

"It can go through your head what others have done to get away from a club - but it was just not the reputation I would have wanted.

"It never went through my head to go through that. I've got too much respect for the club, and for the manager, and I've just got on with the job."

Barry is happy to lead the side out again after initially being given the skipper's role when O'Neill took charge of Villa in the summer of 2006.

But his main goal is to see Villa lift some silverware although he is suspended for Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round clash at Everton.

He said: "Everyone knows I enjoy captaining Villa. I've always looked forward to doing it and it does give you that extra lift, captaining the team out there.

"It can raise your game. But Martin is the captain this season and, if we win a trophy, that will be more than enough."


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