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Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 16:58 UK

Taylor defends Barry Villa exit

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer, in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Gareth Barry
Barry previously said he would only join a side in the Champions League

Former Aston Villa boss Graham Taylor has defended Gareth Barry's decision to join Manchester City in a £12m move.

Barry, 28, was accused of lacking ambition by joining City, who failed to qualify for Europe, having said he wanted to play in the Champions League.

"I think there are some leftovers from last season when Gareth didn't get a move to Liverpool," said Taylor.

"Maybe he has also been drawn in by the sort of players City are pursuing and thinks it's time for a change."

I think he will be a very good signing for Manchester City

Former Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor

The future of the 28-year-old Barry has been a constant source of speculation over the past 12 months, with Liverpool pursuing the signature of the former Brighton trainee throughout the summer of 2008.

"I am much more sympathetic to Gareth than many people, being closer to the situation," said Taylor, who worked with Barry, when the former England manager returned to manage Villa for a second spell between 2002 and 2003.

"I think money has played a major part in it, but I don't think it is totally behind it."

Barry was stripped of the Villa captaincy last summer after the move to Liverpool fell through and he was highly critical of Villa boss Martin O'Neill in a Sunday newspaper article.

Taylor said: "Last summer was very difficult for Gareth and Martin. I think Gareth made a mistake with an article in a Sunday newspaper that criticised Martin. I think he will regret that and it certainly annoyed Martin.

"But if he had really wanted to annoy people he could have sat on his contract and left for nothing at the end of next season.

"Some may feel if none of the top four were coming in for him he should have stayed at Villa, but he's been there 11 years and played 420-odd games for the first team. I don't think he's been disloyal.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

"I understand his position totally. If somebody offers you the sort of money City are supposed to have offered then it will play a major part in your thinking. If anyone else says it won't, I don't believe them, but I don't think it is just that."

He added: "I think both Martin and Gareth were both very professional and did extremely well last season. I think both will deny it but I think there are some leftovers from last season.

"I know Gareth very well. He is a great lad and when I went to Villa he had been out of the team but I put him straight back in.

"I think he will be a very good signing for Manchester City."

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see also
'Stale' fear spurred Barry move
03 Jun 09 |  Aston Villa
Man City snap up Barry for 12m
02 Jun 09 |  Man City
Barry offered new Villa contract
26 May 09 |  Aston Villa
O'Neill will consider Barry sale
22 May 09 |  Aston Villa
Barry to remain at Villa - agent
27 Aug 08 |  Aston Villa
Barry transfer saga riles Benitez
16 Aug 08 |  Liverpool
O'Neill takes aim at player power
16 Aug 08 |  Aston Villa

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