Date: 6th June 2008 at 2:55pm
Written by:

Martin O’Neill has hinted that Wayne Routledge and Moustapha Salifou will play an important role for Villa next season.

It is expected that both players will feature heavily in our pre season plans and that should bring them both up to speed.

Speaking to the Evening Mail, O’Neill said:

‘I think Salifou had an opportunity to get used to the game over here but he was always trying to catch up with players who had been here for the full pre-season.

‘Let’s not forget the players in midfield also performed very well over the course of the season.

‘Wayne Routledge came in in January and as I said at the time it was a case of restoring the confidence he had in his time at Crystal Palace.

‘He had quite a few games for the reserves and just the one substitute appearance for the first team. Now I’m looking for him to come back in a determined mood. That’s what I want from everyone.

‘Everybody will get a chance in pre-season and the challenge is there for the two of them.

‘It will be their first chance to get a pre-season under their belts at this club so in a way their Villa careers start this summer.

‘They’ve worked very well and both impressed at different stages last season. It’s just a matter now of going into pre-season, getting a chance and taking that chance.’

There were times last season when it would’ve been conceivable to give both players some time on the pitch, but if Salifou hadn’t impressed I doubt he would still be here as he was only a years contract to begin with and given reserve reports Routledge seems to have found his feet again and could add a good dimension on the right for us.

Especially if Maloney keeps whinging and failing to perform.