Friendly timing frustrates O'Neill
Thursday 05 August 2010
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has hit out at the timing of an international friendly just 72 hours before the start of the new Barclays Premier League campaign.
O'Neill could lose up five potential England players - James Milner, Stephen Warnock, Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Stewart Downing - for next Wednesday's friendly with Hungary.
But in addition Richard Dunne, Stiliyan Petrov, Brad Guzan and John Carew are likely to be called up by the Republic Of Ireland, Bulgaria, United States and Norway respectively.
O'Neill, whose side face West Ham at Villa Park on August 14, said: "It is a problem to have an international match the week before the season starts.
"I think that international football has been well and truly accommodated by the Premier League and all leagues around Europe in terms of games (next Wednesday).
"Then, in early September, there are two internationals in quick succession and the players are away for almost two weeks and it eats into the season.
"From that viewpoint, it is a bit of a nuisance."
Meanwhile Villa defender Carlos Cuellar is battling to be fit for the clash with the Hammers.
The Spanish player suffered a hamstring strain in the weekend Guadiana Cup clash with Benfica in Portugal.
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