O'Neill denies contract talks

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Martin O'Neill has had no talks with Aston Villa owner and chairman Randy Lerner about a new contract.

O'Neill has performed wonders in making Villa strong contenders for a Champions League spot after just two and a half years in charge of the midlands club but has played down reports he is in talks with the club's American owner over a new deal.

O'Neill said: "I've not spoken to Randy in two-and-a-half years about a contract, nor have I had the need to do so."

He added; "I don't know where the story came from. There's definitely nothing in it.

"I've never discussed a contract since the day I arrived and signed."

O'Neill is also in the dark over reports that the Football Association regard him as a major contender to eventually succeed Fabio Capello as England coach.

He said: "I don't know anything about the report. I can't prevent anything being written - other than something libellous."

Meanwhile, O'Neill feels the return of left-back Wilfred Bouma after an eight month injury lay-off will be like having "a new signing" at his disposal.

Bouma is close to earning a first-team recall after dislocating his ankle in an Intertoto Cup clash with Odense in July.

O'Neill said: "Wilfred is chomping at the bit. He is ready to go. That reserve game (against Chelsea) has helped him but he still has a bit of work to do physically."

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