Barry to focus on Villa

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Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry has squashed speculation about his immediate future by pledging to stay at the midlands club for the rest of the season.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill revealed he has held talks with the England star who was the subject of four unsuccessful bids from Liverpool in the summer. O'Neill placed an £18 million price tag on Barry after he made it clear he wanted to join the Reds and taste Champions League football.

But the 27-year-old has made it clear he intends to concentrate on his Villa duties until at least next summer. O'Neill told Villa's official website: "This news will lift me, the players and hopefully, the player himself. It increases our determination to keep going and shows we are pushing in the right direction."

He added: "This is what Gareth wants to do. It is very, very pleasing and I am delighted. We will sit down again in the summer, have a chat and see what progress we are making.

"He has given the football club fantastic service and wants to put the trauma of the summer behind him.

"His game is top-notch at the moment and he is playing very well. He wants to leave all the speculation behind him and get on with his game."

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Gareth Barry
Premier League
Aston Villa

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