Date: 17th February 2008 at 10:15am
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Former Aston Villa and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore says he wishes Martin O’Neill had been the Villa boss whilst he was with us claiming he could have made him a ‘legend’. Such a wasted opportunity and great talent lost, he really should have been not only a Villa legend but also an England legend. As many of his ex managers have said, he did things in training that other footballers could only dream of!

Talking to the official site Stanley said:

‘I played under him all too briefly (at Leicester City) and that’s one of the things I regret, because unlike other managers he was always straight with you. Martin is by far and away the best manager I ever worked for and with John Robertson and Steve Walford he’s got the best team of coaches too. If you take out Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, I’d say Martin is the best manager in England. My time at Villa didn’t work out for a number of reasons, but I’m convinced if Martin had been in charge back then I’d have become a Villa great.’

He also says Villa can qualify for European football: ‘Obviously the important thing for Villa this season is keeping everybody fit. But if they can continue in the same way they did against Newcastle and make the Fulham result a one-off, then I’m positive they can get at least a UEFA Cup place. There’s a bit of a battle for fourth with Everton, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Liverpool, but if they take points off each other it’s a possibility for Villa – I’m keeping my fingers crossed.’

He also said in another interview that John Carew is a key figure, ‘John is awesome, I went to the training ground the other day and he is a massive specimen! He’s been around the block a bit after playing in Spain, France and Norway. Now Carew is getting his just desserts. You can talk about the pace of Young and Agbonlahor, but Villa have been noticeably five or 10 per cent worse off when Carew’s not been there to knit it all together. He got what he deserved when he scored the hat-trick against Newcastle.’

Adding, ‘With strikers it’s about service, and Villa have the players to put the ball into the right areas. He’s never been a prolific goalscorer, but they’re going to need him to weigh in now and that’s what he’s doing.’