And although he believes he performed well enough in training sessions to warrant a starting place, the defender spent the majority of the season on the bench watching Carlos Cuellar, a centre-back by trade, play in his position at right-back, and Stephen Warnock occupy the left side of defence.
Related ArticlesPremier League Transfer TalkVilla to hold emergency Milner talksManchester City consider upping Milner bidMilner's best position?Aston Villa reject £20m Man City bid for MilnerMartin O'Neill to stay on at Aston VillaYoung's plight was seized upon by Aston Villa supporters, who admired the defender's dedication last year when required to play out of position for much of the season, and cheered their support every time he made an appearance as a substitute - he even got a standing ovation as he came on in the second half against Blackburn, the final game of the season.
However, in spite of their support (or perhaps because of it), O'Neill continued to confine Young to the bench. He made 14 from 38 Premier League starts and was an unused substitute for Villa's two trips to Wembley.
'I've been fighting for my position but it never seems as if it's been a fair fight,' he said. 'I don't want to leave Aston Villa because it's a great club, but I don't know what more I've got to do to get into the team. I feel fitter than I've ever felt, I'm in the shape of my life, and I think my form has been good whenever I have played.
'I'm always as professional as possible when I train. Other than the Chelsea game, when the whole team had a nightmare including me, I think I can hold my head up high about all of my performances. It just seems that however hard I work in training or however well I do in games that I don't get judged by the same standards as some players.'
Young's comments might cause some irritation at Villa, but in truth the writing has been on the wall for some time. Young's agent held talks with O'Neill and the club's chief operating officer Paul Faulkner earlier this month and was told he could leave as soon as the club decided a price and a matching bid was received.