Villa fringe men urged to step up

The likes of Steve Sidwell, Nigel Reo-Coker, Habib Beye, Nicky

Shorey, Luke Young and Curtis Davies will be available to move if

the price is right although they all have at least 12 months of

their current contracts remaining. But O’Neill points to Wales

international Bale, who re-established himself at White Hart Lane

under Harry Redknapp last season, as an example of how quickly

situations can change. He said: “Look at how Harry Redknapp has

gone and re-entrusted players again like Gareth Bale. He was out of

the picture at Tottenham, then came back into the side and did

brilliantly. “That sort of things happens at every club and I keep

saying this to some of our players who have obviously been

disappointed at not playing. “It changes so quickly. You play

really well in a game, you might get unlucky to be left out next

time. But then, the second time, there’s no reason to be left out

and it just goes on from there.” O’Neill admits any player who

makes a favourable impression will come under consideration for a

place in the starting line-up despite the success of last season.

Villa finished sixth in the Premier League and reached the final of

the Carling Cup and semi-finals of the FA Cup. O’Neill said: “I

think the players here last season did remarkably well. Let’s take

the example of James Milner. He went straight into the midfield and

had a season never to forget. “But that doesn’t mean if another

player steps in and does really well in the team, that he can’t

cement his place.” Villa will not be at full strength when they

report back for pre-season training on Thursday. The England trio

of Milner, Emile Heskey and Stephen Warnock have been allowed

additional time off after their involvement in the World Cup, along

with United States goalkeeper Brad Guzan.