O'Neill: Barry could still leave in summer

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has conceded, captain, Gareth Barry could still leave Villa Park at the end of the season. Barry, who has made over 350 league appearances for Villa since joining the club as a trainee, was involved in the longest-running transfer saga of last summer with the midfielder - eager to play Champions League football - continually linked with big-money moves to Liverpool and Arsenal.

His decision to stay in the Midlands has proved a wise one, with O'Neill's side currently sitting pretty in third place - ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal - with Champions League qualification for next season now a genuine possibility.

However, the Northern Irish manager has admitted that if Villa were to fall away and fail to qualify for Europe's elite competition, or the UEFA Europa League, his captain could again seek a move to pastures new.

"Gareth is here until the end of the season. He was true to his word that he would stay in January," O'Neill told the News of the World.

"If we keep the momentum going, who knows? But if we don't qualify for Europe this season then things will be in the balance. The point I accept is that having given this season, which was what I wanted in the first place, I don't think anyone would begrudge him the opportunity to move having spent that time here.

"It was this season I was asking for. If he continues to play in the fashion he is doing, he is in every bit as good a position as he was at the end of last season."

VILLA FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read:
Boy's A Bit Special
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Isiah Osbourne
Ask A Silly Question Peter Crouch
Perfect XI Graham Taylor

Plus! Rate Villa players (and others) on Talentspotter