Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Villa want players close at hand

Alex McLeish

Any new Aston Villa signings will be required to live nearer to the club's Bodymoor Heath training ground, Press Association Sport understands.

New arrivals, as well as any current players agreeing new contracts, will have to be based within 30 miles of the training ground.

Previous Villa manager Gerard Houllier was keen on the idea, only for his ill health to curtail his spell at the club before the guidelines could be put in place.

But current boss Alex McLeish and the Villa hierarchy have firmed up the proposal.

They are aware of the adverse effect constant long-distance travelling can have on players and also are keen for them to be part of the community.

Left-back Stephen Warnock and midfielder Stephen Ireland have already moved into properties in the area.

They were persuaded to make the move having being assured they had key roles to play at Villa after being frozen out of first-team plans last season.

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