Mellberg re-affirms commitment to Villa

August 23, 2006

Deposed Aston Villa skipper Olof Mellberg has revealed his desire to be part of Martin O'Neill's plans for the future and insisted: 'I am as committed as ever to the club.'

Mellberg's relationship with previous manager David O'Leary had become increasingly strained and the former Racing Santander player was linked this summer with a move back to Spain with Levante and German giants Bayern Munich.

But the Swedish international, who has lost the captain's armband at Villa Park to Gareth Barry, insisted he wants to play a major role under O'Neill.

Mellberg said: 'I was never thinking that I was on the way out of this club. I wasn't in any talks with any clubs but I know a club in Spain contacted Villa and were interested but I didn't meet them.

'If the club had agreed to sell me, then the next step would have been for the club to contact me. I would have listened to what they had to say but it never got to that stage.

'Then the day after I got back, the manager (David O'Leary) left and everything stopped in terms of transfers.

'But I have two years left at Villa and that's what I have been focusing on since the World Cup.'

Mellberg added: 'There have been several changes since I have been here and that's what we are looking at now with a change of manager recently and a takeover looking like it will happen.

'I am committed as ever to staying with Villa despite all the speculation in the summer.'

Mellberg admits to have been given a lift by the arrival of O'Neill who will make his home bow in Wednesday's Premiership clash with Reading.

He said: 'His arrival a couple of weeks ago has been fantastic for the players, fans and the club. I think we all needed a lift. Martin O'Neill's arrival has excited me as a player.'