Bouma earns O'Neill backing

12 April 2008 10:21
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is determined to reward Dutch defender Wilfred Bouma with a new long-term contract. The 29-year-old left-back is coming to the end of his initial three-year contract with the Midlands club, with a 12-month option to extend his stay having already been agreed. However, O'Neill is keen to tie Bouma down to a longer deal after being impressed by the Dutchman's recent form. He said: "I think Wilfred has done very well indeed. We have a 12-month option on him which, at the very least, we would expect to take up. "I have spoken very recently to Wilfred and his agent and we would hope we would be looking at that situation very shortly. He has done very well and I'd like to know what his views are on things. "The rest of it (a new contract) would be down to speaking to Wilfred and his agent and seeing how they feel about it all. I am sure deep down Wilfred is pretty pleased with himself this year. "Did he have to win me over? I think that everybody in the side would have felt it was a new start. I don't think it was a case of winning me over, but a case of seeing what people are capable of doing. "Wilfred had a few injury problems, but this is the longest spell he has stayed injury-free and he has reaped the benefits."

Source: ESA