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Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 16:29 UK

Villa players want Barry to stay

Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry
Barry has been linked with Chelsea and Liverpool

Aston Villa players believe it is vital the club keep hold of captain Gareth Barry if they want to be successful.

The 27-year-old, who has two years left on his contract, has been linked with a move away from Villa Park this summer after an outstanding season.

Barry says he will talk with manager Martin O'Neill before deciding on his future, but Scott Carson is in no doubt as to his importance to the team.

"It is massive that Gareth stays," said the on-loan Liverpool goalkeeper.

"He is the captain here and a vital part of the manager's plans.

"I would say he is the centre point of the team and the most consistent player.

"If he went, it would be a massive blow. He is the heartbeat of the team."

I just hope he stays and he is one of our most important players

Aston Villa striker John Carew

A string of impressive performances in the heart of Villa's midfield have seen Barry become an England regular and he has started Fabio Capello's first two games in charge of the national team.

Capello saw the midfielder put in another sterling performance during the 5-1 win over local rivals Birmingham on Sunday.

And his efforts have not gone unnoticed elsewhere, with Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool and Chelsea reportedly interested his signature.

But defender Zat Knight and striker John Carew have echoed Carson's comments and hope Barry will stay at Villa Park.

"It shows where Villa want go when the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea come in for Gareth and yet he still wants to see what is going to happen here," Knight said.

"We are trying to build something special here over the next couple of years and hopefully he can be part of it. We need Gareth to stay because he has got that bit of class.

"We are just pleased to have him at the moment and hopefully we can keep him."

606: DEBATE
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Carew, who netted twice in the resounding win over Birmingham, added: "I can't really say about Gareth and his situation.

"I just hope he stays and he is one of our most important players.

"What will happen, or not happen, is difficult to say. I think he will stay. He is our captain, he is the symbol of the club. I think he will stay, but let's wait and see."

Defender Olof Mellberg, whose contract expires this summer and has agreed to join Italian side Juventus after seven years with the midlands club, said: "I don't know what is in Gareth's mind.

"I don't want to compare my situation to his. We are at different stages of our careers. I know what my thoughts were. It is difficult to know Gareth's thoughts.

"But I see a bright future here for Villa now. They want to qualify for Europe and then build on that, establish ourselves up there. That is obviously the goal for the club right now."


see also
Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham
20 Apr 08 |  Premier League
Barry to assess future at Villa
19 Apr 08 |  Aston Villa
O'Neill 'desperate' to keep Barry
18 Apr 08 |  Aston Villa
Carew thinks Villa ideally placed
11 Feb 08 |  Aston Villa
Barry looks set for a testimonial
30 Oct 07 |  Aston Villa
Barry finds his feet
11 Oct 07 |  Internationals


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