O'Neill has player concerns
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Martin O'Neill has admitted he would prefer his Aston Villa youngsters to take a break.
Martin O'Neill has admitted he would prefer his Aston Villa youngsters to take a break this summer rather than represent England at the European Under 21 Championship.
The likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Ashley Young, Gary Cahill and Liam Ridgewell are all in contention for places in Stuart Pearce's squad this summer.
O'Neill will not stand in their way if they are selected, but admits he would prefer his players to have a summer without football.
"It would be difficult to stop them from going," said O'Neill. "I'm sure they would all want to go and represent their country in the finals.
"Ideally it would be great if players could get a proper rest in the summer time. I'm not just talking about the younger players but the mature players as well.
"It's interesting to hear Steven Gerrard saying that after the World Cup finals, and then having to go into the Champions League qualifying games with Liverpool, he felt lifeless in September and October.
"That's a mature player who has a lot of games under his belt. I find that very interesting because of how our boys may feel, but I cannot stop them from playing."