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Sunday, 28 May, 2000, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Ugo threatens to quit Villa
Ehiogu is pondering his Villa future
Ehiogu is pondering his Villa future
Aston Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu is ready to turn his back on the West Midlands club after nine years in a bid to boost his career.

The defender reckons his England dreams could be ruined if he stays with Villa.

Ehiogu said: "I need a new challenge to spark my career.

"I have been at Villa for nine years and I'm starting to feel stale.

The thought of going back to the same surroundings and seeing the same faces next season doesn't excite me

Ugo Ehiogu

"It's time to freshen up and find a new direction.

"The thought of going back to the same surroundings and seeing the same faces next season doesn't excite me.

"I feel I'm part of the fixtures and fittings. When you get to this stage you take things for granted and people begin to take you for granted."

Ehiogu is one of a number of players threatening an exodus from Villa Park.

Devastated

Former England midfielder Paul Merson said he was 99% sure he would not be playing for Villa next season because manager John Gregory refused to agree to a one-year extension to his current contract.

And Mark Draper is also desperate to leave the club this summer after returning from a loan spell with Rayo Vallecano in Spain.

Draper said: "There's not a hope in hell of me staying. There's interest from one or two Premiership clubs and I want out as quickly as possible."


Draper wants out of Villa
Draper wants out of Villa
Ehiogu said Villa's FA Cup Final defeat to Chelsea meant European football was not guaranteed next season, with Villa having to qualify for the Uefa Cup through the Intertoto.

Ehiogu added: "I believed we would win at Wembley and the club would go on to better things. Now I feel devastated that we lost and the defeat brought a few things home to me.

"It means we are not in Europe again and that's not ideal for a player like me who is still hungry to play for England. If we are not in European competition it does not help my cause."

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See also:

22 May 00 | Football
Villa spending spree pledge
20 May 00 | FA Cup
Chelsea claim FA Cup glory
23 May 00 | England
James hopes to erase nightmare
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