O'Neill: Player power on the rise

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill believes player power is more prevalent in the game today than at any time during his own distinguished playing career.

And former Northern Ireland midfielder O'Neill admitted he would "never take for granted" that he has the backing of all Villa's players.

O'Neill's comments come in the aftermath of the training ground bust-up with midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, who was axed from the squad for Saturday's game with Portsmouth.

O'Neill would only reveal he had spoken to Reo-Coker on Monday and that the conversation would remain private.

But, in general terms, he accepts players now want a greater say in club affairs.

O'Neill, whose side face Cardiff tonight in the Carling Cup at Villa Park, said: "The game has changed now. In my day, and days before that, players had no power.

"The club and the manager ran the show. That's the way it was and nobody saw fit to change it. I felt at the time that players should have a better say in proceedings but now it's gone the other way.

"Players now at least want to believe that they're in charge of things, and there's probably a great deal in that, so it has gone full circle. The reason it has done so is because of the money in the game.

"I do believe that if there's a valid viewpoint, then you should listen to it, but if you're spouting off just for the sake of things I'm not so sure that makes for easy listening."

O'Neill added: "Are all the squad singing from the same song sheet? I would never take anything like that for granted at all. I never have done so as a manager.

"I certainly wouldn't be foolish enough to believe that all the time, even when things are going well. This idea that you will please every single player at the football club all the time is simply impossible.

"If you were to ask any manager that, he would say that that's the nature of things."

O'Neill refused to confirm whether Reo-Coker will return to the squad for the clash with the Bluebirds.

He said: "I had a word with Nigel in private and that is how it is going to remain as far as I am concerned. I won't be divulging what I said to him - or he to me.

"If Nigel and his associates close to him want to divulge anything, that is entirely up to them. As far as I am concerned, that is the end of the issue."

Striker Emile Heskey (ankle) and winger Ashley Young (calf) are rated doubtful with O'Neill poised to make a number of changes, albeit insisting they will not weaken the team.

He said: "I said I was going to try and utilise the squad this season but the players who will come into the team are not peripheral players.

"They are players who, in the cases of one or two, perhaps might consider themselves unlucky not to be in the starting line-up.

"From that viewpoint, whatever side that goes out, I would be happy in the knowledge that they will be capable of winning the game for us."

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes