O'Neill defends single signing
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has defended his decision at bringing in only Wayne Routledge in the transfer window.
By Laura Slatcher
Last Updated: 02/02/08 12:41pm
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has defended his decision at bringing in only one player during the January transfer window.
Tottenham outcast Wayne Routledge was the only addition to Villa's squad after seeing no first-team action at White Hart Lane since August.
O'Neill had intended on strengthening his squad, the smallest in the Premier League, in the hope of maintaining their push for a European spot.
However the Irishman believes he was right not to sign players of insufficient quality just to increase the size of the squad.
He said: "This January, with the exception of Wayne, we haven't enjoyed the bonanza time we enjoyed 12 months ago when we brought in Ashley Young, John Carew and Shaun Maloney.
"We tried to also bring in Brad Guzan, an American goalkeeper with a lot of ability, only for the work permit application to be turned down.
"But January is a very difficult month, it is manic, a bit crazy. I made strong inquiries about several players I thought would strengthen the side but they were not available. It is as simple as that.
"In an ideal world, we would have liked to bring extra players in and, yes, I could have filled the squad with a number of people but I don't see the point of doing that just for the sake of it.
Routledge is unlikely to be considered for Villa's trip to Fulham on Sunday but O'Neill is confident the former Crystal Palace man can blossom.
"As a kid at Crystal Palace, Wayne looked exceptional," he said. "I know lots of things can happen in a couple of years to young players and he has stagnated a bit.
"I am sure he will say he is not totally blameless but it is up to him now and I have been really impressed by his desire to want to succeed at the highest level."
The Villa manager is also feeling positive after five of his players were included in Fabio Capello's initial England squad to play Switzerland.
O'Neill added: "Any footballer will get a massive lift from being picked by England - although you wouldn't have believed it looking at training today because they were awful.
"But seriously they will take enormous confidence from the call-up which hopefully will also benefit us as well."