Bannan signs new Villa contract

By BBC Sport
Last updated : 19 November 2010

Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan has signed a new contract that is set to keep him at the club until 2014.The new three-and-a-half-year deal is reward for the 20-year-old's fine displays this season, culminating in a debut for Scotland in midweek.

"Everything this season has been unbelievable [and] to get the deal is icing on the cake really," he said.

Bannan follows other Villa youngsters such as Marc Albrighton and Ciaran Clark in signing new contracts.

Midfielder Bannan, who had a spell on loan at Blackpool last season, has featured regularly for Villa in the starting line-up or as a substitute this season.

I am very pleased he has signed and he sounds like a nice respectful lad as well

villan1956

Given his chance by caretaker manager Kevin McDonald, the Scot has continued to impress under new manager Gerard Houllier, and he added: "I could never have imagined this season going so well for me.

"I knew I was capable of playing the way I have been playing and it was just about getting the chance.

"I have really kicked on. The new gaffer [Gerard Houllier] has come in and really taken to me. I've had chances and I've taken them.

"It's all come around so quickly, I haven't really had chance to think about it. It's just been an unbelievable start.

"I am over the moon to be at the club. It's one of the biggest in the country."

Bannan is in contention for a start again when Villa visit Blackburn on Sunday - as is new signing Robert Pires.

The veteran French winger, 37, goes immediately into Houllier's squad for the trip to Ewood Park after signing a six-month deal at the club.

Bannan has broken on to the scene at Villa Park this seasonBut Houllier believes Pires's influence off the pitch will be just as important as on it, saying: "I am used to signing old players because I signed Gary McAllister at Liverpool when he was 35.

"He helped us to deliver and get some trophies. When McAllister came to Liverpool, I definitely think it helped Steven Gerrard.

"Pires can also help our younger players develop. It's not only during games, you practice every day in training.

"His game intelligence, experience, attitude, is a good example for the young and sometimes they need tips.

"They can get tips from the manager but can also get tips from players.

"They will be extremely eager to have what he can deliver in terms of attitude and messages, I would say."

Pires, meanwhile, reiterated his desire to win silverware for Villa after lifting two Premier League titles and three FA Cups with Arsenal plus the World Cup and European Championship with France.

"I hope to win a trophy," he stated. "For me it is the most important because Villa are a very good team with very good young players.

"Some players are injured like Emile Heskey and John Carew but we have good experienced players.

"I am here to win trophies - the FA Cup or the Carling Cup, why not? - and aim for the Champions League. It is important."

Houllier backs Pires to help Villa youngsters

Source: BBC Sport

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