Date: 29th June 2008 at 7:46pm
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Martin O`Neill has admitted that both he and chairman Randy Lerner were ‘surprised` by the comments reportedly given to the News of the World by Gareth Barry this weekend.

As previously reported on Vital Villa, Barry has made a number of comments in the National Newspaper suggesting that he has been completely without contact, incentives or reasoning to stay on at Villa Park, and that any further attempt to stay on in Birmingham would be “pointless.”

The story from the other side somewhat paints an alternative story.

Avfc.co.uk have conviently run an article just as Martin O`Neill seemingly dithered live on BBC television (think he was struggling to find words) and fires back a somewhat strong response, without resorting to the Patrik Berger style “he`s not playing for Aston Villa again” promise. A number of Vital Villa members suggested that the midfielders original comments, were somewhat timed to coincide with his managers’ punditry for BBC One.

Speaking to avfc.co.uk O`Neill said:

“My chairman and I were surprised with the comments attributed to Gareth Barry in his exclusive interview with a national newspaper today.

“Contrary to what was reported, we desperately wanted to keep Gareth at Villa Park and he knows that.

“We asked both Gareth and his agent to consider what had been discussed at our meeting which included a variety of options to incentivise the player.”

He added yet another subtle hint to the Liverpool manager, that offering the right sort of cash will see them acquire what seems to be their #1 target of the summer, the poor souls!

“We have made our position clear in respect of Liverpool’s interest in the captain of our club but if Liverpool meet our valuation then Gareth Barry will get his express wish to leave Villa Park.”