Martin O'Neill's exit as Villa boss was big break for me, says Barry Bannan

18 November 2010 01:04
Scotland smash hit Barry Bannan has revealed how he feared his career at Aston Villa was in danger of being cut short - after Martin O'Neill dismissed the midfielder as too small.[LNB] The 5ft 7ins 20-year-old midfielder, a standout in a 3-0 winning debut against the Faroe Islands on Tuesday night, said: 'Martin O'Neill had a problem with my height. I had a few meetings with him and the size issue always came up.'[LNB] Small wonder: Barry Bannan[LNB] And Bannan, denied a debut goal when he saw a first-half strike hit the post, added: 'I was not going to get a chance in the team - no matter how well I did in training.[LNB] 'Last year I was on loan at Blackpool and only playing games now and again.[LNB] 'When O'Neill left Villa, I hoped someone would come in and give me a chance and trust me and the last few weeks have been a breath of fresh air for me. Obviously, it has been a big change in fortunes for me.[LNB] 'Gerard Houllier has come in and has shown great confidence in me, I'm playing in the Premiership for Villa and now the Scotland gaffer has given me a chance.'[LNB] Bannan breezed through his debut and yesterday he even had former Scotland boss Alex McLeish comparing him to Arsenal and England prodigy Jack Wilshere.[LNB] 'Every game I play now gives me more confidence,' continued Bannan. 'At certain times in the past, I was disheartened. But you can't let yourself get that way because, if you do, your game tends to drop.[LNB] 'I just hoped that some day something would change. Now the manager has changed and everything else has changed, too.[LNB] 'Houllier wants a passing game and he gave me the nod for the first team after I'd done well in training. It's not just me. It's encouraging to see a lot of young lads coming through now.[LNB] 'I know I'll have to work my socks off to stay in the Villa team. Hopefully, I'll be able to put together another few good displays.' [LNB] A star is born! Bannan stakes his claim with a dynamic Scotland debutScotland 3 Faroe Islands 0: Levein's babes fit bill as next generation shine[LNB] [LNB]  Explore more:People: Martin O'Neill, Jack Wilshere, Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish Places: Scotland, United Kingdom

Source: Daily_Mail