O'Neill unhappy with 'pointless' friendly

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Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has branded England's friendly with Holland only three days before the start of the new Premier League season as "pointless".

O'Neill admits the series of under 21 and full internationals which will be staged next week will disrupt preparations for the opening game with Wigan at Villa Park on August 15.

The Villa boss, who has already been without James Milner, Craig Gardner and Gabriel Agbonlahor for most of his pre-season programme after their involvement with England in the European Under 21 championships, said: "It is not just the England international. You've also got World Cup games being played three days before the season starts."

He added: "It seems really strange and pointless to be playing those sort of games so near to the start of a season.

"We will have loads and loads of people away. We have got full internationals, under 21s and under 20s. We might as will invent an under 22 and under 24 competition.

"In a week where we will be trying to prepare for the start of the season, we will not see a lot of our players until Friday morning before the Wigan game.

"I might as well say all international games three days before the start of the season are pointless. It doesn't make a great deal of sense."

O'Neill is continuing to step up his bid to bring in new players before the start of the new campaign with defence his main priority.

Villa are understood to be lining up a bid of £2million plus £500,000 in add-ons for Newcastle fullback Habib Beye.

Portsmouth centre-back Sylvian Distin is also on Villa's radar and it is believed the south coast club have already rejected one offer for the former Manchester City player.

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Gabriel Agbonlahor
Manchester City
Habib Beye
James Milner
Premier League
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa
Craig Gardner

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